Photo courtesy of Lauren Tober
â€œThe way I see it, gratitude is a path into the realisation that happiness is our true natureâ€¦â€ says Lauren Tober, a clinical psychologist and Yoga Teacher based in Byron Bay. â€œAs many of us are so tangled up in our thoughts, emotions and the busyness of everyday life, we need a little extra help to tap into this well of joy. Gratitude is a simple way to remind ourselves of the overwhelming abundance of happiness that lies within us.â€
World Gratitude Day (on September 21st) will see her kicking off 30 Days of Capturing Gratitude â€“ an initiative that started with a few snaps of things Lauren was thankful for.
â€œI wasnâ€™t expecting the simple practice to have such a profound effect on my wellbeing,â€ she recalls, but it did. “Pretty much overnight I was tuned into all that was wonderful in my life, and I found a deep sense of joy and contentment. When I started sharing my gratitude photos on my blog and social media, the response was overwhelming. As people started taking and sharing their own gratitude photographs, I felt called to create Capturing Gratitude to really bring people together in this fun and life affirming practice.â€
What do you hope to achieve with 30 Days of Capturing Gratitude?
My hope with Capturing Gratitude is to increase worldwide happinessâ€¦ Weâ€™re all carrying around our camera phones with us all day, and many of us are engaging rather mindlessly on social media. Capturing Gratitude gives us the opportunity to use our smart phones for creativity, connection and happiness.
What are the benefits of documenting our gratitude?
In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2003, Emmons and McCullough found that those who kept gratitude journals reported more happiness and joy, were more optimistic and satisfied with their lives, had fewer symptoms of physical illness, had a deeper sense of connection with others and even slept more hours and with a better quality of sleep each night. Not bad for a small shift in focus!
What are some ways for people to document their gratitude offline?
Try creating a digital or a printed journal with your gratitude photographs, or using a gratitude photo as your desktop image, or creating a calendar for the New Year with your photographsâ€¦ Other ways to cultivate a gratitude practice offline include keeping a daily gratitude journal, pausing often throughout the day to give thanks, writing a letter to someone youâ€™re grateful for, writing a list of 100 gratitudes or each night in bed counting 10 things youâ€™re grateful for on your fingers before you fall asleep (one of my favourites).
Can you give some examples of the small, everyday things we can be grateful for?
Right now Iâ€™m grateful for running water in my home, for a quiet moment, for my noisy and wonderful kids, for my gorgeous husband who has just taken them to school, for high speed internet, for my cup of tea, for the wisdom of yoga, for my iPhone camera, for the Capturing Gratitude community and for you, The Collective, for appreciating my vision and sharing it with the world!
Download the Gratitude Interviews ebook and join in the 30 day Gratitude ecourse at capturinggratitude.com. Share your gratitude photographs on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #capturinggratitude.