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This empath's journal

Remember that chihuahua from hell?4 min read

Last week I managed to, finally, come up with a good name for the free email course I’m working on!

The course itself is based on cognitive science, positive phsychology to be precise, and is designed to literally rewire your brain into a more optimistic outlook on life.

As I was writing one of the emails for the course yesterday, about our brain’s inbuilt negativity bias, I was thinking that we’re so primed to see the bad stuff in life (because it increases the chances of survival) that technically all those Darwinian individuals who’ve survived thus far are basically a bunch of crotchety, grumpy, surly old coots!

And cognitive science has recognised the fact that gratitude actually takes quite a bit of effort.

But making that effort is so worth it.

Because once you manage to reign in your negativity bias and get your brain thinking more positively, you gain something called the happiness advantage.

The happiness advantage means you’ll experience:

  • 31% higher productivity,
  • 3x greater creativity, and
  • 23% fewer fatigue symptoms.

You’ll also feel more engaged, be more successful at your job and be more likely to live longer!

Now, you know how in awe of the power of words I am – and this includes names.

I take naming things very seriously, and like to take an approach of seeing what feelings the thing I’m trying to name is giving me, rather than just slapping a nametag on.

Because the right name reveals truth. When you hear it, you think, “Yeah, that’s exactly what that is!”

Take the second most famous “chihuahua from hell” Cesar Milan rehabbed on his tv-show.

The dog’s demon-possessed behaviour got him dumped in a shelter that specialised in abused and unwanted pit bulls (!!).

When he got the dog, one of the first things he did was change the name from El Diablo (the devil) to Sammy.

Not because the dog gave a hoot as to what word was used to indicate him, but because Milan knew that people’s energy changed as soon as they heart the name, and that affected the human attitude around the dog.

Because that little change in energy triggered a cascade of fear and aggression that turned into a self-feeding cycle, which eventually landed Sammy in the shelter.

Names are so important to us.

And I wanted to find the perfect one for this course. Because though it’s a small, humble email course, it’s trying to achieve something really big.

I spent a whole three days on Pinterest hunting for quotes about gratitude to find the right words.

I started by jotting down a list of words & concepts related to gratitude:

  • good days start with gratitude
  • happiness daily
  • gratitude begins
  • rise the joy / raise the joy
  • kindness received
  • now or never
  • grateful today
  • positive brain
  • kind thoughts
  • gratus quo
  • gratitude attitude
  • living in gratitude
  • acknowledge the good
  • the goodness journal
  • uplift
  • courage rising
  • authenticity

I spent several days hemming and hawing over the feelings I associate with gratitude, the effect gratitude has on your life, your mood and your relationships, and thinking of which words felt right.

I trawled through page after page of gratitude journals online to see how they were named (99% of them are literally just named ‘gratitude journal’) and looked at how the authors had described them.

Still, I couldn’t land on anything that felt right.

When I’m naming a product or a service and I find the right words, they click into place with that same rush of excitement as matching pieces in a puzzle.

Finally, after a constant back and forth for three days, I realised I’d overlooked the most obvious!

I’d been so focused on the word ‘gratitude’ that I hadn’t even realised that the most important thing about gratitude is feeling thankful for what you have and have had in life.

*Click* 🤩 That’s it.

Thankful.

So, that’s what I named the course. And I’m having so 👏 much 👏 fun 👏 writing these emails I almost feel guilty that my job is this fun!

But I know that if I’m loving the writing of it, the reader will love the reading of it.

Plus I consider it a gift to be able to entertain myself to the point of cackling even though I’m sitting alone in the room with just me and my words. 😆

Thankful gratitude email course

Thankful is a free journaling course that I created for you when you want to feel happier and more grateful in life.

It’s a daily journaling email course where I send you a new email every day for 21 days with journaling prompts and knowledge about the science of gratitude and happiness.

When you’re ready to be guided through twenty-one days of journaling, you can sign up here.

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