Tagged With gratitude

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One of the first things we learn about manners as a kid is to use our “please” and “thank yous” early and often. But we aren’t teaching it right, because everyone is doing it wrong and they’re doing it wrong in a variety of ways. So here’s a refresher on how not to effectively express true gratitude.

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There’s school smart, street smart, business smart, but we tend to forget about feelings smart: emotional intelligence. Like your ability to think critically, your ability to read and express emotions can be developed. 

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Sometimes it’s hard to think about what’s good in your life. Weirdly, this even happens to people who you would say have a demonstrably better life than your own—more money, more friends, more status. That’s because gratitude isn’t necessarily a marker of actual life blessings — it’s more like a mutant ability to experience positive feelings more intensely than normal, according to an op-ed by Arthur C. Brooks for the New York Times.

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It’s good to recognise what’s good in your life (even, and especially, when it seems as though the rest is terrible). But if you express that in the form of gratitude journals, prayers or meditation, you’re sort of making that feeling a solitary one. What about the people in your life you’re truly thankful for? Couldn’t you tell them how you feel?

Well, no, a lot of us might say. That sounds super awkward.

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This graduation speech by Australian comedian and Groundhog Day composer Tim Minchin contains a bit of advice that I've certainly heard elsewhere, but seems especially useful at a time when we're all exhausted by the constant pressure to assert our identity on social media.

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By now, we know how important it is to instill a sense of gratitude in our children - according to the book Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character, those who practice thankfulness get better grades, have a lower risk of depression, and are more engaged in their hobbies and communities. And we're trying. Around the parenting sphere, there are countless posts about teaching kids to write thank-you letters, start gratitude journals, toss their daily joys into the gratitude jar, and list their blessings at the dinner table. All are completely worthwhile rituals. It seems like parents are becoming really intentional about cultivating gratitude in their homes - or at least about writing about it on the internet. As a mum, I sure would like to become more disciplined in this area. Who wouldn't?

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The best way to support creators you love is usually to buy their work - it's financial support and support for the idea that they can make a living from their art. But even when you don't have a cent to spare, there's a lot you can do to support your favourite artist's career.

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"Stop pitying yourself, people have it worse, you should be grateful." You've probably heard this before, and it's some of the most cliché, unhelpful advice around. When gratitude is inspired by guilt, obligation, or shame, that's not gratitude at all. True gratitude is a practical tool that serves a number of purposes beyond the after school special fluff of being thankful for what you have.

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Money seems like it has everything to do with logic and little to do with feelings -- but our emotions can have a pretty big impact on how we deal with our finances. Gratitude, for example, can affect spending (and even investing) in a big way. Here's a first-hand account of how it changed my own financial habits for the better.