Finding Gratitude in the Social Media Age
Social Media Memories as a Trigger
We’ve all had that moment, when up pops an image or memory in your newsfeed, instantly bringing you back to a moment in time a few years earlier. It’s a reminder of a happy time that has passed by. We stop, smile and reflect. That was a great time, we think to ourselves.
The memory spurs a warm feeling inside. A sense of nostalgia mixed with gratitude comes over us for a instant. For a moment, we pause and re-live that happiness.
But when that happens, do we really stop to savor that feeling for longer than just a split second? In fact, in most cases, we often dismiss that feeling and go back to the treadmill of our lives, forgetting to be truly grateful for these moments in our daily lives.
We’re often so busy running from one task to the next, in our rushed hectic daily schedules, that we really aren’t living in the present and enjoying the small gifts that each and every day brings.
Books upon books have been written to remind us slow down and be grateful. But how many of us actually practice this concept? Like all abandoned new years resolutions, the idea of keeping a gratitude journal goes by the wayside.
So what is keeping us from following through?
It’s usually a matter of habits.
It begins with starting new habits and making them a daily practice so that they become second nature.
In our modern, convenience-filled lives, most of us are guilty of taking things for granted… a roof over our heads, running water, electricity, a safe neighborhood, or a reliable internet connection.
But what if we were grateful, not just for the material physical things, but for life’s simple pleasures? The touch of a child’s hand, the warm sun on our back, a smile from a passing stranger, the little compliment we receive from a friend or partner.
It has been proven through various studies that being grateful on a regular basis brings happiness and a more fulfilled life. When we shift from waiting for happiness to come to us, and instead to focusing on creating happiness from within, our lives change for the better.
The Benefits of Gratitude
An article found on the site Happier Human, outlines as many as 31 benefits of daily gratitude… including improving our sleep habits, our health, our productivity, our relationships, as well as our personal happiness. Several studies have proven a link to these benefits.
In my own personal quest to find ways to get in the habit of practicing gratitude, I came across the #365Grateful Project.
Starting in 2008, Hailey Bartholomew, who was in search of her own quest for greater happiness, initiated a practice of daily gratitude through a series of daily images (with instant polaroid photos) and daily writings of things she was grateful for. She created The 365 Grateful Project.
Hailey’s personal story is inspiring and it spawned an entire movement with the hashtag #365grateful. Watch her video to learn more.
Practicing The Miracle Morning
Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, says this about gratitude:
“Every single one of us already has everything we need to be the happiest person on earth; it’s simply up to us to remember that in every moment.”
Hal’s best selling book The Miracle Morning outlines one of the most powerful ways to develop daily habits by beginning your day with a regular practice. His personal story and the daily practices he teaches has become an inspiration to many.
Learning to express gratitude is a matter of daily habits. Whether it is a five minute ritual in the morning, journaling at night before bed, or frequent reflections throughout the day, it has to fit your life and your schedule. You may prefer the old fashioned paper journal to keep at your bedside or by your favorite armchair, or you may be the type to who might prefer using a smartphone App to carry with you everywhere and make notes as the day unfolds.
There’s an App for That
The best smartphone App I came across was Gratitude Journal by Happy Tapper ($2.99). The daily digital journal combines your words and images with daily inspirational quotes to brighten your day. Each time you make a journal entry or add an image, the app serves up a quote, as if to reward you for adding an entry of gratitude.
Whatever inspires you to begin a daily practice, and whatever tools you use, It’s time to get going. And to think it all starts with a simple choice. A choice to make it a daily habit.
So I challenge you to choose a life of gratitude, even in the face of our distracted, over-scheduled lives.
Next time you are trolling on Facebook and come across a memory in your newsfeed, remember this article and may it trigger new habits to alter your life for the better.
Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod http://halelrod.com/books/
#365Grateful Project http://365grateful.com
Gratitude Journal by Happy Tapper https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gratitude-journal-original!/id299604556?mt=8
Benefits of Gratitude http://happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude/#c12
Bobbie Bush Photography is a Massachusetts based photographer located north of Boston in historic Salem, Massachusetts, specializing in children and family portrait photography. Voted Best Children’s Photographer in Boston in 2014 by the Boston A-List.