Part of Something Bigger Than Ourselves

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Photo by Mark Strobl

Photo by Mark Strobl

Most of us want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s why we join clubs and organizations. It’s why we participate in social media. Sometimes, though, being part of something bigger than ourselves can be as simple as giving thanks. If you think about it, it’s hard to give thanks without thinking about someone or something other than yourself.

Today Seth Godin wrote a blog post about Thanksgiving. He talked about a Thanksgiving Reader he put together to help us connect and share our gratitude for one another. You can read about it and access the reader here.

That got me thinking about my meditation app, Headspace. There’s a pack in it called Gratitude. As you work through it, you start to recognize just how connected we are to one another. For example, when I buy apples at the grocery store, I can reflect on how they got there. I can be grateful for the farmers who tended them, for the drivers who transported them, for the store clerks who carefully stocked them, and for the programmers, designers, and machinists who built the scanner I used to purchase them. All of these people made it possible for me to buy my apple.

So the Gratitude pack in Headspace is a 10-day pack. What if, instead, it lasted for one full year? What kind of impact would that have on how I see the world?

That’s what got me curious about Janice Kaplan‘s book, The Gratitude Diaries. In it, Janice chronicles her one full year of living gratefully. During that year, she stuck to writing down three things every day — and then at least three times a week — that she was grateful for. She talks about the positive impact that commitment had on her relationships, her health, and her perspective. She shares other research-based tips that I’ll write about later this week.

Janice was gracious enough to speak with me about her year of living gratefully. You can listen here. I think you’ll enjoy hearing what she has to say.

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