Tuesday, August 26, 2014 | By: Lynn

The Gratitude Game

I’ve noticed a lot of people are participating in the gratitude game on Facebook these days. It’s kind of nice to read what people consider things to be grateful for. I think the point in the game is to prompt all of us to see the beauty in each day, despite how bad the day.

I started about a year ago making a habit of ending each day writing a list of things that made me smile. My lists included things like, talking with my son, riding my bike, the wind, my cat sitting with me, eating a baked potato.

I tend to be an Eeyeore personality, so I can get into and enjoy a pretty good funk. But at the time I started making lists, I had entered a very difficult “bleak.” I wanted to have a more balanced outlook and experience in life. Over the course of the year or so I’ve been mindful of the pleasant elements of each day I’ve shifted, organically, to a state of near constant gratitude. Uncomfortable and undesirable things occur all the time. But I feel my awareness of the complete picture, desired and undesired, has helped me become more resilient and open.

I’ll be one of the first to give voice to the fact that life is hard. And maybe right now the world’s population is under more duress than in the past, giving rise to the popularity of a grateful attitude. It’s a way to cope and maybe even thrive in tough times. I don’t think it’s denial, at least not for me. It’s acknowledgment that there is always something there for us to grab onto and get a lift in spirits.

The Examined Existence reports on results of research on the effects of gratitude and how it may be worth the effort of reframing our days.

“In an experiment about gratefulness, participants were divided into two groups. The first group was made to list down a maximum of five reasons that make one grateful, while the other listed down five annoying or bothersome reasons once a week over a course of ten weeks. In the results, the participants in the group expressing gratitude felt more content and positive about their lives. As a matter of fact, they also showed improved health signs through a lower number of symptomatic ailments such as nausea, headaches, cough and even occurrence of acne.”

The website posts a saying that addresses the chicken or the egg aspect of gratitude bringing more happiness or the other way around. It says:

Regarding the Facebook game, another website RevGalBlogPals notes that the gratitude game can actually promote negative feelings in those reading the post. 

“First among these problems is “bragbooking”– using your gratitude posts as an excuse to throw your good luck in everyone else’s face: ‘I’m thankful I can eat as much chocolate as I want and stay a size 5.’ ‘I’m grateful that my daughter got straight A’s for the tenth semester in a row.’ ‘I’m thankful that I’m an upstanding, moral citizen and not a destitute sinner like most of my ‘friends’ who are reading this.’ “

I can’t help laughing about that situation. Facebook does stir up emotions, or rather people posting can elicit emotions.

I think sharing what we’re grateful for has the potential of helping others get a boost. It can be a reminder that although life is tough, it also has sugar cookies and chocolate and pets and birdsong and so much more. So please tell me, what are you grateful for today?


Becky Lower said...

I'm grateful that my puppy mill rescue dog has sat beside me for an entire hour today without jumping down from the chair. We've been together for four years now, but she's very slow to give her trust. I feel truly blessed that she's asleep in my arms now. That's the ultimate in trust.

Cafe said...

So cool, Becky! I know what mean and feel the same way about my rescue cat. Thanks for stopping by.