One of my favorite quotes of all time is a rendition from William Wordsworth... "Your MIND is a garden, your THOUGHTS are seeds, you can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds." I have used this phrase numerous times throughout my teaching career and even created an entire AP Art project around it.... but, NEVER have I understood it with such clarity as I did during the final stages of my new degree.
Last night I presented my Capstone Research Project to my professor and cohort peers. It was the final step toward graduation and the culmination of my
2 years worth of research into the neurological and behavioral effects of GRATITUDE. And..... though I discuss gratitude with at least 1 person every single day.....even I, was shocked at the data analysis results.
The final data for my research ended with a 16 day online GRATITUDE journal writing format (via a private Facebook group). The only requirements were that each participant take a Pre-attitude survey prior to the journal writing experience and a Post-attitude survey when the 16 day process was complete, and contribute a minimum of 6 entries to the online journal during the course of the research period.
In the journal writing phase of the research, participants would post an image of something they were grateful for and write 3 reasons why they were grateful for that image.
Sounds too SIMPLE to really do anything measurable
...... and I genuinely thought so too.
I didn't think the time restraints of this project would be conducive to any scientific results, but this is what the graduation syllabus called for, and that's what I did!
Using this formula to calculate the difference from the Pre and Post attitude surveys..... the final analysis was MORE than I'd hoped for. (P.S. Thank goodness I have an engineer husband who created an Excel spreadsheet to load my data into this monster and could explain the OVER-THE-TOP formula to me.) I'd NEVER seen anything like it before!
But.... Let me tell you what the results showed!!!!!
Writing in an online GRATITUDE journal,
(even for the short time span of 16 days)
withstood the scrutiny of controlled testing to REVEAL
" a SCIENTIFICALLY qualifying degree of change"
between the Pre and Post surveys.
As I have stated many times before...
"Thoughts are MEASURABLE things!"
They are NOT floating aimlessly around in our minds.
Instead...neuroscience now knows they are genuinely
creating connections in our brain
that are affecting our health, our lives and every relationship we are a part of.
I have personally been writing in a GRATITUDE journal for about 6 years now,
and I can't tell you enough about the life-changing effects it has created for me.
By far, it is the cheapest, most transformative
GIFT you can give yourself.
Our MINDS are truly a garden of connections....
Every single thought is growing a root system!
image by University of California-Davis Center for Neuroscience, appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.
I ask you today to STOP and think
about what you are growing in the garden of YOUR mind......
is it flowers or is it weeds?
The choice is truly YOURS!
I learned the practice of Gratitude Journaling
from one of the most influential people on the planet....
and whether you like her or not is irrelevant.
We don't have to like someone's views, weight, skin color,
politics, or platform to LEARN.
BECAUSE....when someone who comes from poverty and disfunction,
to become possibly the most influential woman of this century
tells me that this is the single MOST important thing
she has EVER done for herself and her success....
...and then I devote my entire graduate research
to showing the world the scientific benefits of GRATITUDE.
Staci is a one-of-a-kind mix of JOY and Neuroscience who is teaching people all over the world to BUILD a BETTER BRAIN by using Gratitude to create a BRIGHTER future. She has a Master's Degree in Educational NEUROSCIENCE and 25 years of teaching experience where she developed a reputation for being able to uncover potential in others like no one else could. Let her teach you how to live a HAPPIER Life by using the neuroscience of GRATITUDE to rewire your brain and build a better future!