Want To Try An Experiment?

in #gratitude4 years ago

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Research shows that those who adopt a Gratitude Practice increase their chance of gaining happiness and contentment, identifying opportunities in life, developing an optimistic view, and decreasing stress related ailments all around. But, Don't take my word for it. Check out some of that research here.

The Basis

For those that find an interest, or better yet, a life style cultivated around mindfulness, self-compassion, and gratitude; we can probably all admit to anecdotal evidence of our own experiences through practice. For those just starting or with a mild curiosity, I present to you a Gratitude Experiment. Below are 5 exercises in Gratitude, mindfulness, and Compassion that anyone can do with the least amount of time invested and a self scoring scale.

The Experiment

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Do Gratitude and Mindfulness Practices change perspective and feelings?
For 7 days complete the 3 activities and 2 self-report scales.

The Pre and Post Scales (10 being the highest)

Answer both questions twice a day, the first time being in the morning before you start your day (and before you do the first activity), and the second time before you go to bed (quite a bit of time after you have completed the last activity).

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your current mood.
  2. On a scale of 1-10, what would you rate your belief in this statement:
  • I generally feel good about life
*Do not forget to keep a record of your responses. This is how you will be able to tell if your mood and perspective changes over the course of the experiment

Activities

1. One Good Thing (3 mins.)

Think of 1 thing in the last 48 hours that can be considered a good thing that happened or that you experienced.
This could be anything from not running out of water while taking a shower, or hanging out with your particular group over drinks or dinner, to seeing an amazing sunset. Take your time to think of the best (or at least one of the top best) experiences you had in the last 48 hours. When you have it, follow the steps below:

  1. Take time to see it in your mind
    • Who, if anyone, was with you?
    • Where were you and what were the primary colors to be seen
    • Was there carpet or grass, blue skies or yellowing ceiling, crowded or de-cluttered of people or things, etc.?
    • Really explore the imagery. See if you can identify what you were wearing, any pictures or decorations, make it vivid.
  2. Were there any sounds?
    -Was there music or birds and wind?
    -Could you hear conversations or a white noise from the voices of crowd?
    -What about any appliances -refrigerator or air conditioner? Were there cars or foot steps?
    -Again, make this as vivid as possible.
  3. Could you feel anything?
    -I'm pretty sure you know where I am going with this by now.
    -Gain a sense of how the bottom of your feet felt. Were you standing on a floor, grass, concrete? or were the off the ground?
    -Could you feel the air? Was it warm or cool, was there a wind.
    -If you were sitting, how did the furniture feel?
  4. Smells?
    -No matter where you were, there will always be smells.
    -Try to identify as many as possible.
  5. Tastes?
    -Probably the hardest if your one good thing wasn't a meal of some sort
    -Do what you can to truly think on it.

This should take about 1 to 2 mins once you practices it a couple times.
Once you have all the senses, spend the rest of the 3 mins holding what you can of the experience. That is it. The first activity is finished. Go about your day as usual.

2. Three acts of kindness (2 to 20 mins.)

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Very simple. Pick three random activities that show kindness to another.
A random act of kindness can be anything from holding a convenience store door open for someone, letting a person cross the street or another vehicle turn in front of you, to giving a compliment, buying a stranger coffee, or helping someone move (yuck).

Take your time completing this activity. It should be done throughout the main part of your day.

3. Acknowledge You Feel Proud About Someone (1 min.)

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Do your best to think of a different person each day for the 7 days. If you can't, consider a different reason each time.
This activity should be done at the closing of your evening, after you had time to debrief, settle down, and relax. Take just a moment to think of someone currently in your life that you truly feel proud of. It could be for their accomplishments, traits, motivation, anything. Take just a minute to think about this person and how it feels to be proud of them.

After the 7 Days

By the end of the week you should have a set of scores recorded on a paper _(the pre and post scale scores). If you were able to complete the daily activities, it's now time to review the results of the experiment.

  1. Review the daily pre/post scales for each of the 7 days
    -did the two scores change from day to night as you completed the activities each day?
    -Was there a noticeable day or two that you can see the scores jump?
  2. Compare Day 1's pre-scores with the Day 7's post scores
    -was the last scoring higher than your initial scoring
    -If yes, then the experiment shows the possibility that Gratitude Skills can work for you to increase contentment, become more optimistic, and assist in stress reduction.
    -If no, then Gratitude may not be the practice for you, or possibly, you may need more practice time.
  3. Other thngs to consider:
    -How do you feel about the activities now that you did them for a week?
    -Did you like a particular activity better than the other two?
    -Did this give you a stronger sense of control over the way you respond to everyday events in your life?

Closing

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I hope this prompted at the very least, some thoughts or interest in the topic of Gratitude. This is not intended to be a Scientific Study, but to challenge everyone of us to try something new, to experiment with different tactics and ideas in a continuous journey toward self control and personal authority over ones feelings and thoughts. Often in our culture, we come to believe stressful and busy are the Penultimate in deciding a person's value and worth. With that as a underlying, learned, belief we often fall prey to allowing the experiences of negative perspective painting over most of our daily activities and interactions - and even more negative self-talk that gradually wears us down mentally, emotionally, and physically. We can reprogram our thoughts, and in so doing, we can create a more positive space for ourselves and those we hold closest to us.

What is presented here, is not new. These exercises have been around long before mindfulness was trendy or researchers began studying the effects of such simple but powerfully transformative things. If any of this resonates, I encourage you to be curious. seek more information and try out different techniques until you find some you enjoy. Trust me, those closest to you will appreciate it.

What are your thoughts? Do you think this is worth trying? Have you tried something similar? Please share in the comments. I would love to read what you thing and more importantly, I would love to read about your experience trying this 7 day experiment.

****Special thanks toTara Marccocia for letting me use your photos to illustrate some points and to help, hopefully, keep the article more stimulating!**

Thanks for reading
DJ

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