A month of gratitude on social media! #DecGratitude
Want to boost your wellbeing, counteract the rampant commercialism of December, overcome the winter blues, boost your self-esteem, help turn social media feeds into happy places and do some positive reflection on the year gone by..? Join me for a month of positivity, sharing three things you are grateful for each day, with their causes! Use photos, videos, text, music – whatever represents what it is you’re grateful for, and tag your posts with #DecGratitude. Let’s make our social media feeds a source of positivity this month!
As regular readers/coaching and training clients know, I use positive psychology in my work to help people boost resilience, wellbeing and motivation. The goal is not to ‘get rid of’ or ignore negative thoughts or moods – it’s important to recognise and deal with things that are going wrong. The goal is just to remind ourselves to be thankful for what is going well in our lives, and recognise what and who has contributed to things going well, to help us increase our wellbeing and cope when things get difficult.
One of the simplest and most effective simple positive psychology exercise is the daily gratitude or “three things that went well” exercise. Participants in a study who were asked to write down three good things that went well each day – and their causes – every night for one week began to show beneficial effects one month later. At the one-month follow-up, participants in this exercise were happier and less depressed than they had been before starting – and they stayed happier and less depressed at three-month and six-month follow-ups¹.
Gratitude has been shown to increase resilience and our ability to recover from stressful experiences. Again, it’s not about denying stress or pain – negativity has its important uses! It’s about strengthening our coping resources, and appreciating what we already have instead of worrying excessively about what’s “missing”.
I’ve been running a music and wellbeing project here at the University of Jyväskylä for the past few weeks, where I’ve asked my music learner participants to practice a daily gratitude habit as well as mindfulness practice and kantele (Finnish harp) practice. I’ll be sharing at the impact these have had on participant wellbeing when we’ve finished and all participants have re-taken their scoring questionnaires. The feedback so far has been very positive and I’d like to get you in on the action!
I’ll be sharing things I’m grateful for/their causes all month on social media – with photographs/video. I’d love you to join me by sharing photos, videos, text posts or music that represent what you’re grateful for. Post it on social media or keep it private, whichever feels right for you. (If you’re staying offline, perhaps use a dedicated notebook/journal for your daily thanksgivings – it’s a fantastic resource to flip back through when you’re having a stressful or low day and want a boost.)
Follow these 3 easy steps:
1. Think of three things you’re grateful for today, and what/who caused them. Sometimes the causes are easy to spot – your actions, other people’s actions, etc. – sometimes there’s no real cause (“I’m grateful the weather was good today! Cause: the weather.” 🙂 ) Note that the ‘three things that went well’ exercise usually focuses on things that have gone well that day – but feel free to expand this exercise to include things you’re grateful for in your life in general right now.
2. Write them down in a notebook or journal, and/or share one or all of them on social media – using the hashtag #DecGratitude on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest & Facebook. I’ll re-post my favourites! (If you’re short on space, put your causes in brackets, as in my tweet below.)
3. Ask your friends and family to join you (it’s a great bonding exercise when you share it) – let’s share the psychological wealth!
Thank-you for reading…
¹Seligman, Martin. (1998). Learned Optimism. New York, NY: Pocket Books.