Day 19 — Gratitude and Materialism
Here are a couple of research articles if you are interested in further reading...
Altruism, Happiness, and Health: It’s Good to Be Good by Stephen G. Post, 2005
"Kind and Grateful": A Context-Sensitive Smartphone App Utilizing Inspirational Content to Promote Gratitude by Asma Ghandeharioun, et al, 2016
At the start of this with you I quoted Brené Brown, and in reading her book, Atlas of the Heart, I was introduced to Robert Emmons, who is a gratitude researcher.
“Research on emotion shows that positive emotions wear off quickly. Our emotional systems like newness. They like novelty. They like change. We adapt to positive life circumstances so that before too long, the new car, the new spouse, the new house—they don’t feel so new and exciting anymore.
"But gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value of something, we extract more benefits from it [we’re going to talk about those benefits more this week-j.s.]; we’re less likely to take it for granted.
"In effect, I think gratitude allows us to participate more in life. We notice the positives more, and that magnifies the pleasures you get from life. Instead of adapting to goodness, we celebrate goodness. We spend so much time watching things—movies, computer screens, sports—but with gratitude we become greater participants in our lives as opposed to spectators."
Beginning in October 2022, I embarked on a 46 day gratitude practice (from Canadian Thanksgiving through to American Thanksgiving), hosting a live session each day where we did 3 things: movement, learned something or were inspired by someone, and then had a short gratitude practice, often journalling with the prompt coming from what we had learned that day.