Happy Thanksgiving! This episode is coming out the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday – a day of crazy deals and holiday shopping (which I have written a few articles about recently on my Inc column) including, Why Black Friday Is the Perfect Holiday Sale According to Neuroscience, Why Year End Is Actually a Bad Time to Send Gifts to Clients, and Why Offering a Deal at the Holidays Isn’t Right for Every Business and Should Always Be Done Thoughtfully.
Last year at this time, episode 23 was all about reciprocity and the benefits that come from giving gifts. While today’s episode is about gratefulness, there is a reason I brought up last year’s reciprocity episode to kick us off today. Gratefulness and reciprocity have an important thing in common…a tie that can bond them together…which is a feeling of happiness and joy.
Doing things for others, giving things away, can help you to feel happier. And, as you learned in that episode on reciprocity, people want to give something in return; they can feel good from receiving AND from giving. It creates a nice virtuous cycle that I like to extend beyond the holiday season…though this is the perfect time of year to talk about this sort of thing. Reciprocity is the act of helping someone else to be a little happier. Giving away things, even in business, needs to be genuinely about that thing and not what you will get back. This episode explores how our brain filters for gratitude and how those principles can be applied in life and business.
- [02:07] Check out episode 23 on reciprocity (fab favorite!).
- [03:25] Gratefulness and giving can help us feel happier.
- [04:17] Giving away things, even in business, needs to be genuinely about that thing and not what you will get back.
- [05:13] Dan Gilbert shares what really makes us happy in his TED Talk. He found our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy.
- [06:29] Studies found that a year after winning the lottery or becoming a paraplegic people had the same happiness levels.
- [07:11] People don’t know what will make them happy. One of the most important things the human brain does is allow us to synthesize the future.
- [07:55] Natural happiness is a product of getting what you want. Synthetic happiness is what we get when we DON’T get what we wanted.
- [08:35] Synthetic happiness – not getting what you want but still being happy about where you are – is just as enduring and every bit as real to the brain as if you got exactly what you wanted (or thought you wanted).
- [08:57] We really and truly do create our own reality, and understanding how your brain looks at these situations can help you to be happier through a filter of gratitude.
- [10:30] Our brains reinforce our decisions.
- [11:27] You can be grateful and appreciate things and have them make you happier even if you don’t remember going through the process before.
- [11:55] There is such a thing as too much choice. “Freedom to choose is the opposite of happiness.”
- [14:31] Not getting what you want can make you just as happy – or happier – than if you had gotten what you set out for. Synthesized happiness is the same as natural happiness.
- [14:59] Lots of choice and opportunity to ruminate are a recipe for unhappiness.
- [15:16] Gratefulness comes before happiness. Gratitude is tied to happiness and helps people feel more positive emotions.
- [16:42] The benefits of gratitude filtering can impact all areas of life in a positive way.
- [17:34] When you are “filtering for gratitude” as I call it, you are resetting the way your subconscious is looking at the world around you – encouraging it to find good things happening so you will have something to write about at the end of the day or week.
- [18:08] Students who hand wrote a letter of gratitude had a huge boost in their happiness.
- [19:27] Our brains pay attention to what we write down, and it allows us to slow down and be thoughtful.
- [21:01] Gratitude can also improve relationships. Sharing the good makes it easier to share the bad.
- [22:11] Do you want to be happier? Do you want to sleep better and be more creative? Do you want to make those around you happier, and increase performance on the job and off? Do you want better relationships and memory retention?
- [22:27] Then it’s time to filter for gratitude and start writing down what you are grateful for.
Links and Resources:
- Here’s Why Black Friday Is the Perfect Sale, According to Neuroscience
- Holidays Can Be the Worst Time to Send Client Gifts, According to Research. Here’s What to Do Instead
- Does Your Business Need to Offer Holiday Deals? Contrary to Popular Belief, Maybe Not
- Episode 23. Behavioral Economics Foundations: Reciprocity
- Daniel Gilbert
- The Surprising Science of Happiness Dan Gilbert TED2004
- Stumbling on Happiness
- Episode 75. The Littery – Interview with CEO Michael Manniche
- Episode 9. Behavioral Economics Foundations: Loss Aversion
- What Does It Take To Be Grateful?
- In Praise of Gratitude
- 5 Reasons Writing by Hand Is Good for the Brain and for Well-Being
- 4 Benefits of Writing By Hand for National Handwriting Day
- Three Ways That Handwriting With A Pen Positively Affects Your Brain
- 9 Incredible Ways Writing By Hand Benefits Our Bodies And Brains
- How Arianna Huffington, Tony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey Use Gratitude as a Strategy for Success
- Successful People Do This at the Beginning of the Day—Do You?
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