Darren M. Palmer
How Gratitude and Giving Thanks Can Help You Through Your Writing Process
As I sit here going through the last rounds of edits for my book manuscript, I can’t help but think how grateful I am to work with such an amazing team and group of people at Self Publish N 30 Days. They have relentlessly helped me through my book writing journey and kept me accountable to ensure we stayed on track. I also realize that most of the writing I was able to accomplish was helped by the habitual efforts I put in to write in my gratitude journal and give thanks.
New research and studies are beginning to explore the idea of how gratitude and giving thanks works to drastically improve our mental health and, ultimately, our performance. Robert Emmons, who is arguably the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, proclaims that gratitude has two important components, which he eloquently describes in his essay called “Why Gratitude is Good.”
The first component refers to the affirmation of goodness in a sense that we affirm that, through all challenging parts of life, we are able to see the good things in the world through the gifts and benefits we have received. The second component of gratitude is recognizing that these sources of goodness are outside of ourselves by acknowledging that other people and divine powers, such as God, have given us the gifts to help us achieve the goodness in our current lives.
Gratitude, derived from the Latin word “gratis,” means gratefulness or thankfulness. Giving thanks is indeed a powerful emotion. When we express gratitude to others and ourselves, our brains release dopamine and serotonin, which are the neurotransmitters responsible for regulating our emotions that make us feel good and happy from the inside.
A good exercise that immediately increases these feel-good neurotransmitters is the act of giving thanks through gratitude journaling. Learning to cultivate gratitude significantly improves our psychological health and allows us to tap into our creative flow, which in turn helps with our creative writing. Physically writing our thanks using a pen and paper instead of on the computer helps create new thought processes that stay with us and opens up our ability to see things with a different lens.
Gratitude journaling is simple. You write a list of things you are grateful for; it can be five or ten things you honor and for which you give thanks. By intentionally looking for the good, we allow ourselves to reflect on the root of our book's topic and the lessons we learned from our experiences. We understand that we have control over our futures by changing our attitude to one of gratefulness.
Another way to give thanks is by honoring our connection with God and strengthening our faith. This devotion can help us connect with the divine and allow the stories from the book to carve a spiritual meaning rather than simply an intellectual one.
As we get closer to Thanksgiving, we can use this holiday as a way to not only celebrate and give blessings of the harvest, but to also create a consistent practice of gratitude that can positively influence our creative writing and, ultimately, also transform our lives.
-- Joanne B., President of Latin America & Canada