I’m selling off excess product in my store. 50+% off many items and, for my lovely readers on social media and the blog, you can buy 5 cards for $5, which is, really $1 a card. Just contact me on Etsy and we’ll figure it all out together.

Tomorrow I’m going to be talking about why I’m putting everything on sale and explain some of the changes that are going to be happening around here.

Being grateful is not easy. In fact, the term grateful itself makes me uncomfortable. It reminds me of the awkwardness of having to recite all the good in your life, in front of your class. The term is uncomfortable, often associated with the deeply religious or deeply free spirited. I am neither of these things and finding a middle ground, reclaiming the experience of gratefulness and feeling it’s benefits did not come easily to me.

These experiences are definitely my own and I am not suggesting that being religious or free spirited is good or bad. It is, however, difficult to figure out how it applies to you if you do not identify with a category your action is mostly associated with. So, where does this leave you? How can you be grateful if, like me, you’re usually a pretty grumpy, gloomy and negative person?

How to start being grateful

Following on from some of the research I did into gratitude (thanks Amit!), it has been suggested that individuals can improve their attitude and encourage their feelings of gratitude.

“Increasing focus on the link between mind and body can encourage feelings of gratitude”

– Bono and McCullough (2006)

There are lots of ways to share gratitude and experience the benefits. Even if you’re not at the stage of wanting to share all that you love with the world around you, you can still experience the benefits.

How to be grateful

Gratitude and Thinking

Thinking of grateful events has a bigger impact than when you write them down. It’s suspected that this is because when we write them down we are forcing ourselves to be grateful in a moment that may not be conducive to the act. Thinking can be done at any time and mindful thinking can help you experience really positive feedback as the thought occurs rather than stocking it up for later. Eamons & McCullough (2003).

What should I be grateful for?

People often think that they need to be grateful for actions of another person but it’s been found by Wood, Joseph and Linley that those that find gratitude easiest are more likely to involved a wider range of people and events. Such as:

  • Being grateful for being able to see a sunrise
  • Being grateful that you met your partner
  • Being grateful for the love of your partner
  • Being grateful that your church leader makes the weekly sermons relevant and engaging

Gratitude and writing

Writing is an incredibly rewarding way of expressing gratitude. Although it has not been found as effective as just thought, writing is still a useful tool. Unlike thoughts, written word is available for those days that you require a boost in your mood or any ailment

What other ways can you express gratitude? What works for you?

Bono, G. and McCullough, M., (2006) Positive responses to benefit and harm: bringing forgiveness and gratitude into cognitive psychotherapy, Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy.

Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E., (2003), An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 372-389.

What Can Gratitude Do For You?

For the last few weeks, I’ve been discussing gratitude and it’s importance in my life. This week I’m going to talk about the health benefits that come from assessing the things for which you are thankful.

Last weeks post looked at the definition of gratitude and what it means to you. So many people got involved with exploring what the term meant to them. With others questioning where research was lacking. It was fascinating and I was deeply touched that so many people wanted to comment on what gratitude meant.

Once you’ve established what gratitude means to you, it’s time to look at what gratitude can do for you.

Benefits of Gratitude

Expressing gratitude has been shown to contribute to improvement in mental and physical health, which is definitely no small feat. This happens in a variety of ways but Amit of Happier Human has developed this brilliant diagram that perfectly sums up what gratitude does for your health.

Source: Amit from Happier Human

As you can see, gratitude has a direct impact on many areas of our lives, so much so that it is difficult to just remove one from the other and it becomes a bit of a cycle. Amit goes into further detail on his blog post about how and why these things occur.

Gratitude and the impact on our social lives

McCullough, Kilpatrick, Emmons and Darson (2001) stated that gratitude lead to a better society because the act alone was expected to lead to other beneficial behaviours. The expectation stemmed from the belief that gratitude was the ultimate expression of kindness and by acting upon those feelings you were being kind to yourself, other individuals and society as a whole. These were the people who believed that gratitude could be defined as a feeling of indebtedness and, as such, they believed that expressing gratitude entered you into a cycle of gratitude demonstrations. Sounds convoluted but it isn’t … stay with me!

They went on to say that those who were recipients of sincere expressions of gratitude were more likely to behave prosocially to a third party, thus spreading the kindness among society. Basically, one simple act of gratitude on twitter could lead to an entirely contented social circle.

Eamons and McCullough (2003) elaborated on this, stating that daily demonstrations of gratitude were positively correlated with improved relationships, both platonic and romantic.

Expressing gratitude can only do positive things for your relationship with others. It’s a reasonable expectation that saying thank you in a sincere manner will reinforce friendships, leaving the recipient validated for their efforts and further developing the relationship.

Gratitude and mood

Gratitude has all kinds of impact on mood. Emmons and Crumpler (2000, as cited in McCullough et al., 2001) found that a gratitude intervention improved not only short term mood but also physical functioning, which means that the next time you feel a bit down in the dumps or a bit achey, taking the time out to be grateful for something could help you experience your emotions and physical ailments differently.


McCullough et al. (2001) also found that gratitude was linked to better social circles and a reduction in narcassism. With better social circles comes better mental health, the research connecting social circles with reduced rates of depression is extensive. 


The expression of gratitude is linked to many other emotions. Research by Eamons & McCullough (2003) found that the emotion was linked to feelings of happiness, pride, contentment and hope, and when further defined by participants it was clustered with feelings of admiration, respect, trust and regard. This leans back into definition territory, I know, but it also means that gratitude as a feeling is also linked closely to other positive feelings. I’m hopeful that in time research will show that gratitude will trigger those other emotions into being. Fake it till you make it, right?


The expression of gratitude is the only emotion correlated positively with life satisfaction. This is no small feat because other emotions and factors such as intelligence, forgiveness, and humour have failed to predict how satisfied we are with our lives! (Wood, Joseph and Linley).


Wood et al. went on to say that people who express more gratitude are more likely to have lower levels of stress and depression and more likely to see the world as a pleasant place, leading to a larger willingness to help. Good news all around!

Gratitude and Health

Eamons and McCullough (2003) discovered that gratitude expressed once a week was shown to correlate with increased exercise, more positivity and less physical complaints. When students were required to write in their journals daily they found that their emotional states and sleep quality improved as well. Brilliant, right?!


Wood et al. also discovered that expressions of gratitude could reduce systolic blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension. This is linked greatly to next month’s post, where we’ll discuss how to express gratitude in a manner that works for you, a key component involves making connections between the mind and the body. I’m going to start looking into the benefits that showing and expressing gratitude can have on your health and general well being.


What do you think? Does this sum up gratitude to you? Are there any other health benefits that you gain from expressing your gratefulness?



Next Month

It’s difficult to talk about this subject without seeming religious, as I am not religious this image is something I avoid. Gratitude seems to have been labelled as something only for those who are religious but this couldn’t be further away from the truth. The act of gratitude has benefits for anyone and, if you are someone who believes in a higher power, it may mean that you are familiar with ways of expressing it that work for you. 

GRAD-ITUDE 101: A Linkup By Chimerikal

RULES FOR THIS LINKUP

1. Write a post and/or comment about gratitude. (The link you submit to the linkup must be the actual post’s URL and not just your homepage or it’ll be removed.)

2. This linkup is also about support and community, so read and comment on at least one other person’s post about gratitude. 🙂

3. Link back to this project in your post. Feel free to use the little button above or upload one of your own!

This project is now a monthly event

References:

Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E., (2003), An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 372-389.

McCullough, M.E., Kilpatrick, S.D., and Emmons, R.A., Darson, D.B., (2001), Is gratitude a moral affect? Psychological Bulletin, 127, 2, 249-266.


There’s still time to enter the Myro Doodles Giveaway. See it here

A few weeks ago, I decided to interview an acquaintance for my blog. I wanted to discuss creativity, life and small business. Not just for my blog either, but for me. I am naturally curious and there are so many people out there who intrigue me with their brilliance. I wanted to start talking to people, exploring what made them tick and learning from them.

I reached out to Myro and she said yes to an interview. This was, perhaps, one of my best moments.

I spend so much time on Etsy and watching videos around TED and YouTube. I spent some time thinking about the direction of this blog and realised I wanted to share creativity and inspire people. The direction of my blog is hard to assess. I know what my ultimate goals are and I am striving to achieve that, so I started offering to interview people who inspired me. If I am inspired by you then it makes sense that you are inspiring others.

I was delighted when Myro offered to do a giveaway too. It was a wonderful way to start the interviews. But that isn’t a prerequisite of getting an interview on here. I interview you because you do something awesome, whether that be making cards, writing, maintaining a small business or writing poetry, I want to hear from you.

If you’re interested in taking part and being an inspiring interviewee contact me by filling in this form and letting me know what you’re interested in discussing.

Perhaps you know of someone who would like to be involved in this project. In that case share the image below via Pinterest, Facebook and other means!

Twice a month, The Lemon Hive invites creatives, small business owners and other inspiring individuals to share their knowledge and inspire others. If you are interested in being a part of The Lemon Hive Inspiring Interview Series and for the opportunity to guest post, visit www.thelemonhive.com


I would also like to declare that I do not receive any payment for these interviews. I do not request monetary or gift in kind payments for these promotional interviews at this current time. Occasionally, the owners of the business may send me a gift after the fact, but I do not seek out, nor do I request any item in exchange for their business promotion. I share products and interview people that I enjoy. The main focus of the interviews is to explore creativity and inspire others.


The complimentary nature of the Inspiring Interview series is subject to change. If you are interested in being a part of this fun series, please fill out this form. Due to the nature of my blog, I will only pursue applicants who have a story that fits with the nature of the blog.

What Can Gratitude Do For You?

For the last few weeks, I’ve been discussing gratitude and it’s importance in my life. This week I’m going to talk about the health benefits that come from assessing the things for which you are thankful.

Last weeks post looked at the definition of gratitude and what it means to you. So many people got involved with exploring what the term meant to them. With others questioning where research was lacking. It was fascinating and I was deeply touched that so many people wanted to comment on what gratitude meant.

Once you’ve established what gratitude means to you, it’s time to look at what gratitude can do for you.

Benefits of Gratitude

Expressing gratitude has been shown to contribute to improvement in mental and physical health, which is definitely no small feat. This happens in a variety of ways but Amit of Happier Human has developed this brilliant diagram that perfectly sums up what gratitude does for your health.

Source: Amit from Happier Human

As you can see, gratitude has a direct impact on many areas of our lives, so much so that it is difficult to just remove one from the other and it becomes a bit of a cycle. Amit goes into further detail on his blog post about how and why these things occur.

Gratitude and the impact on our social lives

McCullough, Kilpatrick, Emmons and Darson (2001) stated that gratitude lead to a better society because the act alone was expected to lead to other beneficial behaviours. The expectation stemmed from the belief that gratitude was the ultimate expression of kindness and by acting upon those feelings you were being kind to yourself, other individuals and society as a whole. These were the people who believed that gratitude could be defined as a feeling of indebtedness and, as such, they believed that expressing gratitude entered you into a cycle of gratitude demonstrations. Sounds convoluted but it isn’t … stay with me!

They went on to say that those who were recipients of sincere expressions of gratitude were more likely to behave prosocially to a third party, thus spreading the kindness among society. Basically, one simple act of gratitude on twitter could lead to an entirely contented social circle.

Eamons and McCullough (2003) elaborated on this, stating that daily demonstrations of gratitude were positively correlated with improved relationships, both platonic and romantic.

Expressing gratitude can only do positive things for your relationship with others. It’s a reasonable expectation that saying thank you in a sincere manner will reinforce friendships, leaving the recipient validated for their efforts and further developing the relationship.

Gratitude and mood

Gratitude has all kinds of impact on mood. Emmons and Crumpler (2000, as cited in McCullough et al., 2001) found that a gratitude intervention improved not only short term mood but also physical functioning, which means that the next time you feel a bit down in the dumps or a bit achey, taking the time out to be grateful for something could help you experience your emotions and physical ailments differently.


McCullough et al. (2001) also found that gratitude was linked to better social circles and a reduction in narcassism. With better social circles comes better mental health, the research connecting social circles with reduced rates of depression is extensive. 


The expression of gratitude is linked to many other emotions. Research by Eamons & McCullough (2003) found that the emotion was linked to feelings of happiness, pride, contentment and hope, and when further defined by participants it was clustered with feelings of admiration, respect, trust and regard. This leans back into definition territory, I know, but it also means that gratitude as a feeling is also linked closely to other positive feelings. I’m hopeful that in time research will show that gratitude will trigger those other emotions into being. Fake it till you make it, right?


The expression of gratitude is the only emotion correlated positively with life satisfaction. This is no small feat because other emotions and factors such as intelligence, forgiveness, and humour have failed to predict how satisfied we are with our lives! (Wood, Joseph and Linley).


Wood et al. went on to say that people who express more gratitude are more likely to have lower levels of stress and depression and more likely to see the world as a pleasant place, leading to a larger willingness to help. Good news all around!

Gratitude and Health

Eamons and McCullough (2003) discovered that gratitude expressed once a week was shown to correlate with increased exercise, more positivity and less physical complaints. When students were required to write in their journals daily they found that their emotional states and sleep quality improved as well. Brilliant, right?!


Wood et al. also discovered that expressions of gratitude could reduce systolic blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension. This is linked greatly to next month’s post, where we’ll discuss how to express gratitude in a manner that works for you, a key component involves making connections between the mind and the body. I’m going to start looking into the benefits that showing and expressing gratitude can have on your health and general well being.


What do you think? Does this sum up gratitude to you? Are there any other health benefits that you gain from expressing your gratefulness?



Next Month

It’s difficult to talk about this subject without seeming religious, as I am not religious this image is something I avoid. Gratitude seems to have been labelled as something only for those who are religious but this couldn’t be further away from the truth. The act of gratitude has benefits for anyone and, if you are someone who believes in a higher power, it may mean that you are familiar with ways of expressing it that work for you. 

GRAD-ITUDE 101: A Linkup By Chimerikal

RULES FOR THIS LINKUP

1. Write a post and/or comment about gratitude. (The link you submit to the linkup must be the actual post’s URL and not just your homepage or it’ll be removed.)

2. This linkup is also about support and community, so read and comment on at least one other person’s post about gratitude. 🙂

3. Link back to this project in your post. Feel free to use the little button above or upload one of your own!

This project is now a monthly event

References:

Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E., (2003), An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 372-389.

McCullough, M.E., Kilpatrick, S.D., and Emmons, R.A., Darson, D.B., (2001), Is gratitude a moral affect? Psychological Bulletin, 127, 2, 249-266.

The art of gratitude and being grateful can be hard. In some cultures, it can feel awkward and cumbersome to express little tidbits of thankfulness and grace. However, it’s a worthwhile challenge to do and the benefits of showing gratitude, appreciation and admiration are immense.

Firstly, Erika at Chimerikal started a fun little link-up about gratitude and I decided to play ball. I blogged last week about Thanksgiving and how grateful I was for all the love in my life. Instead of waxing lyrical about how wonderful my life is, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what gratitude is.

I did some research last week and found a brilliant blog by Amit. Amit of Happier Human has done all sorts of research into gratitude and it’s health benefits. He has written numerous blog articles and reviewed individual journal articles. As a psychology graduate, I liked this A LOT. Firstly, because I am geeky and secondly, because I wanted to provide you with real, solid information.

Relatively speaking there hasn’t been a lot of research into gratitude, don’t get me wrong, there’s still loads out there but if you compared it to research on memory, gratitude is definitely left lacking.

So before I dive into all the good parts of what gratitude can do for you, I thought it best to have a think about what it means to be grateful.

What is gratitude?

Gratitude is experienced culturally but it is expressed throughout the world with many societies finding cultural and linguistic methods for showing it (McCullough, Kilpatrick, Emmons and Darson et al., 2001). The feeling of gratitude is defined in multiple ways and there really isn’t a single way to describe it as it is.

It’s a super hard feeling to define but it has been described as a mix of joy and admiration. Research has found heavy links between the gratitude and feelings of happiness, pride, contentment, hope, trust and regard (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).

Some (Brown & Levison, 1987, as cited in McCullough et al., 2001) believe that gratitude is anything from a state of feeling indebted or socially obligated to another individual because of a kind act to an expression of politeness.

I’m not so sure I like these definitions because, for me, gratitude isn’t about ‘owing’ someone a favour, so I was happy to find that Emmons and McCullough (2003), stated that gratitude focused more on the perception of the individual focusing on a positive personal outcome. The positive outcome was not necessarily deserved but it had happened anyway. They went on to say that the outcome had to have been brought about by another person, which, in my experience, isn’t always true. Wood, Joseph and Linley (2008) obviously think in a similar manner to me, stating that those who expressed gratitude and were happiest often involved a wider range of people and events, including God, sunrises, sunsets, weddings and good memories for which to be grateful for.


Why is gratitude important?

Well, gratitude is something that makes up massive parts of many cultures, with major religions espousing the necessity of gratitude and the act of being grateful. It plays a big role in Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddist and Hindu thought, to name but a few.

In fact, gratitude is such a revered feeling in society that to be accused of ‘ingratitude’ is a great offense and a big indication of moral failure. This is a universally powerful accusation (McCullough et al., 2001) and means that gratitude has more importance within society than we generally acknowledge.

For me, gratitude is important for my own journey as a person, but it has greater benefits for society, with research showing that gratitude promotes the use of kindness to oneself, other people and society. Overall, gratitude can help the world run smoother and assist in making relationships better.

Next week:

I’m going to start looking into the benefits that showing and expressing gratitude can have on your health and general well being.

What do you think? Does this sum up gratitude to you?

GRAD-ITUDE 101: A Linkup By Chimerikal

RULES FOR THIS LINKUP

1. Write a post and/or comment about gratitude. (The link you submit to the linkup must be the actual post’s URL and not just your homepage or it’ll be removed.)

2. This linkup is also about support and community, so read and comment on at least one other person’s post about gratitude. 🙂

3. Link back to this project in your post. Feel free to use the little button above or upload one of your own!

References:

Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E., (2003), An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 372-389.

McCullough, M.E., Kilpatrick, S.D., and Emmons, R.A., Darson, D.B., (2001), Is gratitude a moral affect? Psychological Bulletin, 127, 2, 249-266.

Having recently moved to small Ontarian town, I have spent a lot of time sat with the cats at the window, with a notebook. It is a wonderful way to develop ideas, the only downside is that I spend a lot of time staring out of the window at nothing much whatsoever. The cats quickly notify me when birds are in the garden, and oh-my, such pretty birdies: cardinals, woodpeckers, and other little wonders. It really is the little things that keep me going. 

I wanted to take pictures, but they just didn’t come back (mainly because the temperature dropped to -24 C), so I devised a very cunning plan and opted to make bird feeders.

 

Having collected pine cones at Christmas for decor, I wasn’t sure what to do with them after Christmas. Here is what to do with the left over pinecones:

Directions:

Pinecones – lots of them.

Tie string/ribbon around them (in retrospect, string would have been better than leftover Christmas ribbons – squirrels enjoyed chewing through the ribbon just a bit too much).

Find something to poor the bird seed in, because this bit could get

Move on to the messy part, and smear a good portion of peanut butter on the pinecones, really get the peanut butter in the grooves, gaps and edges.

Roll it in the bird seed, sprinkle the bird seed, press it in there, get as much bird seed in there as possible.

Take them outside and hang them up. We attached the ribbon to paperclips to make it easier to tie them to branches, it meant we weren’t getting peanut butter all over our faces, hair and coats by attempting to tie knots.

I am sure that birds like them, but, erm…the squirrels got to them first. Still, a good effort to feed the wild creatures of our back yard!