Intentional about Gratitude, but not about Downton Abbey

Gratitude may be our family’s theme for 2014. I am reading a book on thanksgiving and inner peace, and these studies are all over the news. As someone who struggles with both postpartum and seasonal depressive tendencies, I’d like to try being much more intentional about giving thanks to fortify myself in joy and gratitude, before negative thought patterns take hold. The attitude of gratitude seems to rub off on kids as well. From the article linked above:

The mere act of giving thanks has tangible benefits, research suggests. A 2008 study of 221 kids published in the Journal of School Psychology analyzed sixth- and seventh-graders assigned to list five things they were grateful for every day for two weeks. It found they had a better outlook on school and greater life satisfaction three weeks later, compared with kids assigned to list five hassles.

Another study examined 1,035 high-school students outside New York City. The study, published in 2010 in the Journal of Happiness Studies, found that those who showed high levels of gratitude, for instance thankfulness for the beauty of nature and strong appreciation of other people, reported having stronger GPAs, less depression and envy and a more positive outlook than less grateful teens.

Speaking of gratitude, I am NOT thankful that Julian Fellowes killed Matthew on Downton Abbey last February (couldn’t he have left without such a tragic death?). I vowed that I was finished with that emotionally-manipulative soap opera for good. Apparently British TV kills main characters all the time; well my American skin isn’t thick enough for all that. But rumor has it that Season 4 starts on Sunday. To Downton or not to Downton?

  • Katrina

    :) I will most likely watch Downton Abbey this season, and I’ll be interested to see how they begin on Sunday after such a tragic ending last season. I remember hearing an interview with Julian Fellows on NPR, in which he basically said that there was no other way that they could have gotten rid of Matthew’s character…He had already been injured from the war, Sybil died of sickness, there was already some infidelity on the show between other characters (and wouldn’t that have been more tragic, after all?). I’m not sure that I completely buy it, but it helped me to be a bit more forgiving of Julian Fellows!

  • Mary Alice

    I’m not going to watch. It was really upsetting for me, and I am not really interested in watching Mary figure things out from here. Sunday nights are bad for me anyway.

    On gratitude, we had an “attitude of gratitude” notebook for a while, and we would do it every night at dinner. It was pretty great, maybe I will try to start that up again.

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com/ Kellie

    Today i am thankful for the snow. It reminds me of St. Therese, for she loved the snow. She prayed for snow on the day she took her vows. She wanted nature adorned in white just like her. I am not a winter person, but a beautiful snow storm always makes me think fondly of winter. I am also thankful for my baby who turns 2 tomorrow! Despite the fact that 4/7 of my family is currently puking, I know we will all be snowed in tomorrow and make the most of Josie’s birthday (albeit without much food).

    And I am thankful for the Eagles, who are in the playoffs this weekend, and the NFL in general, as it keeps me from getting sucked into dramatic television like Downton. Philadelphia sports teams play with my emotions enough, I can’t have my favorite TV characters dying!

  • XY

    DA obviously bugs you. Why not drop it and see how you do? After an episode or two, you might miss it less and have increasing success finding some show or activity more meaningful or relaxing. I gave up the _Good Wife_ cold turkey last year because the feminism got so mean, and it’s made me feel much more in control of my TV time.

  • Mary Alice

    Today I was so very grateful to have a roof over my head and a working heating system in my home! It’s amazing how the broken cabinet and scuffed floors don’t matter when I stop to think about what it would be like to be out in the cold when it is 9 degrees outside. I am so thankful for warmth, shelter and safety, and for a profession which allows me to stay indoors today.


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