While some cycles, like the cycle of violence need to be broken, gratitude is a cycle that when supported, has a profoundly positive impact. It supports our wellbeing with long lasting effects including boosting our mood, increasing our patience, and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Gratitude also supports creativity, as Deepak Chopara asserted: “Gratitude opens the door to…the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe.”
What routine supports you with cultivating a cycle of gratitude? Is it writing or drawing to express what you are grateful for? Creating thank you letters? Some of the most popular workshops in the AWBW curriculum focus on gratitude for ourselves and others. One example is the “Thank Me Card” workshop where participants make a thank you card for themselves.
“The art we create when exploring this topic can serve as a tangible reminder to strengthen the cycle of gratitude.”
We encourage you to embody gratitude by engaging all five of your senses when creatively exploring the topic. Bring your thoughts and ideas to life by asking yourself “what do the people, places and things I am grateful for look like, sound like, smell like, feel like.” Our minds are powerful and using our senses to connect to what we are grateful for and making art to represent what emerges can have positive impacts that reverberate. The art we create when exploring this topic can serve as a tangible reminder to strengthen the cycle of gratitude, and give us perspective.
Research indicates that simply writing down three things that we are grateful for each day for twenty-one days, can increase acts of generosity that last for months. Two of the workshops we featured in the Window of Time Workshop Series can be helpful in bringing forward our gratitude:
Our Gratitude Journal workshop provides a place to capture and remind you of the various things you are thankful for and can help put things in perspective.
Our Treasure Box workshop empowers us to identify what is truly important and can serve as an anchor to connect to those things with a full and grateful heart.
Sharing our creations with loved ones (virtually or in person) can create momentum around our gratitude cycle, foster connection and inspire others to do the same.
The lasting effects of gratitude have even been observed in brain scans of study participants. When we are grateful we call more of those things into our lives, supporting the cycle we want to cultivate. So grab your writing utensil, paintbrush and/or whatever supplies you like and creatively explore what you are grateful for in your past and present, opening a window for the cycle of gratitude to continue.
Christy Turek Rials
Training & Outreach Director, A Window Between Worlds
Los Angeles, California
with Guest Writer:
Cornish College of the Arts
Utilize our Gratitude Journal worksheet to strengthen the cycle of gratitude in your life.
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Utilize our Treasure Box workshop to connect to what you value.
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Want to utilize art to help people explore concepts like gratitude?
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A Window Between Worlds (AWBW) supports hundreds of direct service organizations across the country to incorporate creative expression into their work with trauma survivors. With this blog we uplift the voices of our art workshop facilitators and participants. We invite you to take in this perspective, notice what resonates and explore how it may fit into your life.