The Key to Gratitude

A lot of what we read about gratitude can feel illusive. Our entire mission at KinderInk is to make sharing gratitude more tangible. Marie Forleo, our treasured mentor, has some great advice for that:

“When it comes to gratitude, the dividends are in the details.”

-Marie Forleo

Research shows that depth of gratitude, not breadth is most transformative. We can all make a list of things we’re grateful for: I’m grateful for my cat. I’m grateful for my roof, I’m grateful for my blah, blah, blah. If your gratitude list starts to sound like Brick Tamland from Anchorman, it could probably use a makeover. Detailing what we’re grateful for elicits much greater rewards.

A study at USC tested this in ten weeks. One group wrote general things they were thankful for, and the second wrote five details about one thing they were thankful for. The second group reported feeling more elated, excited, and alert.

Maybe we don’t even need research to prove that. We’ve all received a thank you that was, how do we say this?, robotic, and we’ve all received a heartfelt thank you. Most likely, details separated the two.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to start adding details to what you are thankful for:

  • How is my life different with this person (or thing) in it?

  • How does this person (or thing) make me feel?

  • How does this person (or thing) treat other people?

  • What has this person (or thing) done for me?

  • What have I learned from this person?

Try it with your thank you notes. Try it when you speak to others. Try it in a gratitude journal. Or try it in your head. Thinking in that much detail might be a bit uncomfortable at first, but if you read last week’s story, you know what we think about getting uncomfortable…

Psst: you can catch Marie’s entire talk on this here. (Scroll down)