Gratitude isn't just a touchy-feely thing — it is literally part of our health and well-being and can even change the shape of our brain. And this time of year invites us to reflect on what we're most grateful for. To help you achieve that "attitude of gratitude" this season, we're looking back at some of Brit's favorite advice from guests who shared their expertise on the mindful topic, as well as how to use it to build a happier, healthier life. Listen below to hear the best gratitude quotes of the season.
People like Dr. Laurie Santos, Austin Kleon, Charles Duhigg, Mayim Bialik, and Lauryn Evarts Bosstick give us applicable tips to practice gratitude in our everyday lives. And Jeni Britton Bauer, Hilton Carter, Elaine Welteroth, David Allen, Cal Newport, and Dr. Ethan Kross show us the power of reflection. We'll be back next week with fresh interviews and exciting new guests, so stay tuned!
Top Gratitude Quotes From Teach Me Something New
Brit Morin on slowing down to find gratitude in 2021:
"Even in the chaos of everyday life, moments of gratitude remind us to hold on to the good things. Looking back on this year, there's so much that I'm grateful for. Many listeners might be surprised to hear I had to navigate my hardest parenting moment yet when my young son survived a near death accident earlier this year. We were in ambulances in hospitals for five days. I'm so grateful to say he walked away without any long-term damage other than some cosmetic issues. In contrast, I was eternally grateful to celebrate 10 years of marriage while renewing my vows with my partner Dave this summer.
On the business front, I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue challenging myself, like with Brit + Co's female entrepreneurship course, Selfmade, and my new venture fund, Offline Ventures. It's so exciting to be able to help shape the next wave of the internet and our digital world as we know it — all the while thinking about how to bring more women to the forefront of this shift. And it goes without saying I am so grateful for you, our listeners, who come back week after week to learn something new with me."
Dr. Laurie Santos on how happiness and gratitude tend to go hand-in-hand:
"One of my favorite mantras is this idea that you should react to all that comes to you with gratitude, because that is the path to happiness. We get kind of this wonderful, joyful hit from things we're grateful for, not just when we experience them, but when we re-experience them. One of the best things about having a gratitude journal is you can go back, right? You flip through a month ago, and you're like, oh, I remember when that happened. That was awesome! Or, that bird I saw it was so pretty. When you write them down, you can kind of re-experience them anew, and we experienced those things as, just as joyfully. It's really just about helping your memory along so that your brain, which is normally just going to go to all these negative things over and over again will find the good stuff too."
Charles Duhigg on how to form better habits (like adding more gratitude to your life):
"Well, I think the number one thing to do is to try and take a goal that you have and just break it into a plan. And a one week plan is a great plan, right? Like the nice thing about like a one-week plan is it can't be that intimidating cause we have to do it in the next week. What's the one thing you can do this week that's going to get you closer to your goal? Make it small and make it modest.
If you want to become a singer, what's the one thing you can do this week that gets you closer to that. And then when you do that one thing, when you book your first lesson with a singing coach, let yourself enjoy it. Reward yourself, pat yourself on the back, write down in your diary or on your calendar.
Like, you know what, today I killed it. I am awesome because I did this one small thing because the truth of the matter is that like every single big change in life, it starts with one small thing and we tend to beat up on ourselves because we're not doing the big change overnight, but nothing ever changes overnight.It all changes because one person decided I'm going to do one small thing tomorrow morning or tomorrow night. And then they reward themselves for that. And it becomes easier and easier and easier until it becomes a part of their life."
Mayim Bialik on why we need to keep gratitude lists:
"Do a gratitude list in the morning, or do it before bed. This is one of those things that's often dismissed as pop psychology or positive psychology and a lot of people feel 'ick' about that. But having an awareness of any even small abundance in your life can really shift your perspective. And in science terms it does shift the way your brain starts to organize your day and the way your brain organizes how your day went as you go into the evening. And that's real science and that's a great example of the mind-body connection."
Lauryn Evarts Bosstick shares how to integrate reflection into daily to-do lists:
"Do this super simple exercise every morning to help you stay focused and productive. It's so easy. You just need a piece of notebook paper and a pen. It takes five minutes. I get it. We're all busy. The kids are screaming, we're ice rolling. We have to go. But what I do is I write the date at the top, and then I write the podcast, the book, the music and the workout that I'm doing. The book is what I'm reading for that day. The workout is the workout I'm doing, the podcast is what I'm listening to. And the music is whatever music I want in the background, usually it's Bossa Nova. And then under that, I write down my three must do's. I write down three gratefuls, and then I write down three people I'm sending love to — just taking a minute to be like, You know, my sister's in San Diego, my dad's in San Diego, just sending love to these people. And then I do the Ivy Lee method, which is so easy. You just write down six things that you want to do and you write them in order of importance. And that list gives me so much clarity. So your must do's are different than your six. Your must-dos are like, non-negotiable things you have to do. And then your six things are six extra things in order of importance and you don't move on until you finished the first. So you can't move to the second until you finished the first. It's very visual. I have this up on The Skinny Confidential so you can see how I plan my day."
Austin Kleon's Gratitude Quote About Getting Outside:
"If you don't take a walk every day, take a 15-minute walk every morning. See how you feel afterwards. When you walk in the morning, you've always had an adventure. The day never feels like a waste to me. And I usually come up with something worth doing later in the day, when I'm on my walk in the morning. I would encourage everyone to take a walk in their neighborhood and see what you see. Before you look at your phone for the day, take a walk and see how you feel."
Elaine Welteroth on how stories can be such a source of gratitude:
"During my twenties, I think I was in such forward motion. And I was so relentlessly in pursuit of my dreams that I didn't have the time or didn't feel it necessary to really look up, look back, contextualize my climb and put it in this larger context of what it means for my family and my people. But then I think there was a turning point and it came around the time I was writing my book, it made me more reflective about who I've come from and how that informs my walk in this world and what I owe them and how they continue to serve me. And it's almost like a relationship has been building and being able to have the opportunity to write a book that put me in conversation with my elders, asking them questions about their lives, to collect stories that I hadn't really heard before, gave me a sense of pride in where I come from and who I come from."
Jeni Britton Bauer gets reflective on her entrepreneurial journey:
"So my first business was called Scream and it was just me. I had a friend whose parents loaned us money for the business, but she otherwise had another business and she wasn't interested in doing much with it. So I was there every day and I really actually loved it. And then I also burned out because the only days we were closed were Mondays and I was there from morning to night and I made $638 a month for all of those years to live off of. So I didn't have a car. I walked to work, I rode my bike or I took the bus and had to rely on a lot of friends to help me in many ways. I literally traded ice cream for food, but to me it was like the greatest adventure ever. I would've way rather been there than in school. So I lived in a room for $238 a month in this like old apartment building.
I do think one of the reasons that I try to reach people who maybe have been in the struggle and like so many of us have in America is because you are more resilient in these early days of business. And maybe even grateful of this life that has potential freedom attached to it. And you can live on a shoe string and find your passion and gratitude comes from that versus the expectations.
It was just such a great adventure that I was grateful for it the whole time. It never bothered me. I never thought of entrepreneurship as gold toilets and Ferrari's, but I do think that some people are taught that now it's like that — and I'm not trying to glorify like hustle. It's not that it's not hustle and growth. It's hustle toward your idea. And it feels different, I think, then when you're just trying to make money, money, money, get attention, get attention, versus like creating something, creating a community with people who care about you and what you're making and growing together."
Hilton Carter on finding a gratitude practice in the most surprising of places:
The one thing I will say when it comes to the need to add plants to your home is that for me, plants allowed me to become a bit more aware of the things that are in my life that needed a bit more care and allowed me to slow down through the process of tending to other things in my life.
When I take those moments throughout the week to care for my plants, it is the therapy that I have always needed in my life. I'm not someone who tends to meditate, but I will say that plant care is my source of meditation. So I find myself zoning on these plants versus zoning out to the outside world and all of the things that can cause headache and stress and all of those things that we constantly have right in front of us when we're swiping through, on our phones or scrolling through emails and things of that nature.
And when you're caring for a plant where you're caring for this living thing, you are seeing the effort that you're putting into that particular living thing come to life, unfurl beautiful new growth, all of the things that you have decided to give to that plant, it is now giving back to you."
David Allen on how to be more productive through reflecting:
"Empty your head as best you can, get pen and paper and just literally write down little things, big things, the small things, personal things, business things: I need a vice president. Should we get divorced? Should we adopt? Get all that out of your head. And then take the next 30 minutes or so, and go through each one of those and say, well, what's the next thing I would need to do on that. What's my next action I ought to take to find out if we should adopt or not, and then write all those down somewhere. And then on some regular basis, at least by the end of the week, have some sort of reflection process where you step back and take a look at the contents of your commitments and all that stuff."
Cal Newport on the value of taking a break from distracting digital noise:
"I call it a digital declutter. You actually take a break from all of this stuff. During that time, reflect and experiment. What do I actually care about? What do I actually want to do? And then try to rebuild, repopulate that closet from scratch. What do I really want to bring back? And what are my rules for doing it? You're probably going to have to do this a bunch up front. It's hard to get right at first, but do that first, the clutter and your personal life, you're going to feel a huge difference."
Dr. Ethan Kross on how to leverage the chatter in our brains for gratitude:
"We all have a voice in our head that does a lot of good for us. People say to me, "Oh, please tell me how to silence that voice," and that's not what we want to do. I think we want to harness it. And so, so here's why. When I use this term, like the voice in your head or the inner voice, what that refers to is our ability to silently use language to reflect in our lives. So, if you can talk out loud, you can talk to yourself and it turns out that language is a really powerful tool."
Hope you enjoyed these gratitude quotes! To learn more about all the things with Brit, subscribe to Teach Me Something New on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcasts.