DT Grown-Ups Table: Drawing Gratitude, Part 1
What does it looks like to be more grateful? Let's draw and find out.
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Hello Grown-Ups Table friends!
Last week I asked how the GUT is going, and wow. You wrote such effusive and enthusiastic comments - I’m floored and delighted and so happy to we are digging this creative experiment. A few of you shared that you feel bad if you don’t keep up with the assignments. Let me make this clear: there is No Wrong Way to GUT. You can do all the assignments every week, you can do them in 20 years, or you can never do a single one; You can read the whole edition and make notes or you can skim; You can leave be in GUT chat 24/7 and leave 642 comments or you can lurk and leave none. There are a hundred ways to be a part of this. Follow your own GUT.
And! Speaking of ways to participate, there were some wonderful artist appreciations this past week. I’m sharing a handful of your drawings/report backs so we can all learn from each other, and working list of all the artists you focused on. BTW there is some very robust chat threads on this assignment. Seems like everyone is learning from each other and connecting. I’m grateful for the positive spirit everyone brings to this adventure. And on that note, this week’s subject:
For the next two weeks, we’re focusing on Gratitude: why it’s important, how it changes our brains and outlook on the world and on ourselves, and how drawing can help us be more grateful. Lord knows I could use this. Truth be known, this ain’t my area (perfectionist much, Wendy?) So this week and next I’m calling in two smarter, more grateful friends than I to help us do it creatively. Sound good? Good.
Let’s get grateful.
DRAWING GRATITUDE, Part 1
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is perceiving and appreciating the positive aspects of life. Often we put our attention on things we have not done, do not have, our fears or uncertainties… the ungrateful person is always asking “What else? What’s next?” and is left feeling anxious, negative, and isolated. Whereas a grateful person focuses on the positive. Grateful people ask themselves “what’s now?” They appreciate the good things around them, and reframe challenging moments into a positive experience.
The benefits are profound. 1
Here’s what a study out of UC Berkeley found:
Focusing on the positive and feeling grateful can improve your sleep quality and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Furthermore, levels of gratitude correlate to better moods and less fatigue and inflammation, reducing the risk of heart failure, even for those who are susceptible.2
Okay, real talk: As you might remember from our week On Perfectionism, I can be pretty hard on myself. I can take things for granted. I’d like to change that and focus more consistently on the positive. So earlier this week I started a gratitude journal.3 I’ve written down three or four things a night: the local friendly crow, to a moment of feeling brave, to walking a long distance without pain... So far so good. And while it's a nice ritual, I don't find it to be the most creative activity. It doesn't take me anywhere new. (You may feel differently! But this visual artist asks questions with drawing.) So I asked my dear friend , a writer and one of the most grateful-centered people i know, how she practices gratitude in her life, and if she had any creative suggestions for us at the GUT. Here's what she said, and what we'll be drawing this week:
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