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Category: Happy

On Gratitude

On Gratitude

Something I have been thinking about lately is the effect of gratitude on life. I’m not alone in this: Wikipedia has a long article on gratitude and the research that is being done looking into its effect on people. And in a way, that just makes it all the better.

So, here’s the interesting part. They say to make a journal of things for which you are grateful:

Out of the six conditions, the longest lasting effects were caused by the act of writing “gratitude journals” where participants were asked to write down three things they were grateful for every day. These participants’ happiness scores also increased and continued to increase each time they were tested periodically after the experiment. (From Wikipedia’s Article on Gratitude)

And a lot of people will start doing just that. And the first few entries will seem really really banal. Because we are grateful for the simple, obvious things first. But what about when you keep doing it? Then what happens?

In fact, the greatest benefits were usually found to occur around six months after treatment began. This exercise was so successful that although participants were only asked to continue the journal for a week, many participants continued to keep the journal long after the study was over. (ibid)

This ties in (again) to the writing I’ve been doing on Favorite Thing EVER: the more I look for things that I really really love the more I realize that the world is full of lovely things. And the field isn’t getting narrower. I’ve written a number of articles for that site, and I still see a growing number of new things every day that are worthy of a write up. It’s really pretty amazing. But after reading the results of the studies listed above I’d like to try the real experiment: Six months of writing about three things I’m grateful each day. This is actually kind of exciting!

Writing has always felt (to me) like scrubbing my soul; as I write freely I start to see who I actually am, and start to climb out of the scared, bored shell that builds all too quickly around me.

So, I’ll let you know how it goes, both of you who stop by here from time to time. Stay tuned to this…er, Rss feed!

Why Favorite Thing EVER is one of my Favorite Things EVER

Why Favorite Thing EVER is one of my Favorite Things EVER

It’s true, I have blogging addiction. There’s this one, CANS, and  Coals[2]Newcastle. And recently I started contributing to a new site called Favorite Thing EVER, a site all about liking stuff.

So, first off, a site about liking stuff is right up my alley. I love stuff, and I like being happy about the world in which we live. In a way, it’s a little surprising that I didn’t come up with the idea for this site in the first place.

At any rate, here’s what happened: Someone at FtE wrote an article about Dinosaur Comics, and Ryan North (author of Dinosaur Comics) linked to their article, which brought me (and a bunch of other people) to the site. While there I found their contest to win a signed copy of A. M. Dellamonica’s Indigo Springs. I like books, so I signed up for the contest. And I won.

There were a few emails back and forth to get my address so they could send me the book, etc. During the course of that conversation I mentioned that I liked the idea for the site and if they were interested I wouldn’t mind writing an article or two for them. Matt (one of the founders of the site) said that would be great. A day or two I sent in my first draft for an article about Cosmic Encounter, which may just qualify as one of my absolute favorite things ever. Not long afterward Matt sent it back, saying that it was good, but it wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. And he gave me some good suggestions on how to make it just right.

This, my friends, is something that’s missing a lot of the time. It’s really easy to write your own blogs without any form of quality control. Heck, I’m doing it right now. But sometimes it’s kinda nice to get some feedback on things you’re writing.

At any rate, I reworked my article to focus on why Cosmic Encounter is fun, instead of how you play the game, and sent it in again. Matt’s response is a perfect example of what you should do if you want to encourage people to work for free:

SLAM DUNK. I really like what you did with the rewrite. In fact, this just went from being a game I wanted to check out to being something I absolutely must get and bring to the next game party.

A little praise like this goes a long way. My article was posted the next day.

Bear in mind this isn’t why I’m still writing for Favorite Thing EVER. I keep writing for them because I thoroughly approve of what they’re trying to do and how they’re going about it. The internet is full of people who will tell you what’s wrong with what you like, and why you should like what they like. At FtE, we tell you what we like and why, and hope you’ll like it too. But if you don’t, no big deal.

The fact is, I don’t personally care for a lot of the things that my fellow authors care for. But I still enjoy reading their articles about things they love, because happiness makes me happy. Well, also because some of those articles are AWESOME. For example, read Melodie’s article about Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf. I don’t care if the movie’s good, bad, or indifferent, this is one of my favorite articles ever.

The Internet–heck, the world–could use more groups of people that get together to tell everyone why they’re happy. I’m just glad to be part of this one.