Gratitude

when you express your appreciation in ways that make your benefactor (the one who did the kind deed) feel seen and validated, gratitude serves to strengthen relationships.
Imagine how the person you thanked might feel when they read it.

also:
relationship satisfaction receives the greatest boost when expressions of gratitude are mostly focused on the person who did something kind for you.

from:
https://www.coursera.org/learn/positive-psychology/lecture/uKk9a/gratitude
Positive Psychology
Coursera. March 2016
The University of North Carolina at Chapell Hill
https://www.coursera.org/learn/positive-psychology

related:
http://www.npr.org/2010/12/26/132263637/perfect-thank-you-notes-heartfelt-and-handwritten

“Thanks for a great meal” is not good enough

Ungrateful Wretch
By Helena Echlin
July 31, 2007
http://www.chow.com/food-news/54059/ungrateful-wretch

“Thanks for a great meal” is not good enough either. You could say it to anybody who cooks for you. Debby Hoffman, motivational speaker and coauthor of the book Find Something Nice to Say: The Power of Compliments, calls this a “one-size-fits-all compliment.” Such comments are nice to hear, but they don’t make the receiver feel special. All the chefs I spoke to said they like to get a little more validation.
Here are some tips on how to best show your appreciation for a meal.

Firstly, be specific. As Hoffman says, the best compliments are “full of details, particular to that person and that event.” They show that you’ve really noticed what you’re eating and that your praise is sincere. “Recently I had a dinner party, and I made pasta with herbs from my garden,” says web designer Dukhan. “It was nice when my guests said things like, ‘You can really taste the fresh basil.’”

Even better: Turn your compliment about the dinner into a general statement about your host.
Mark Knapp, a professor of communication at the University of Texas, says, “Research shows that the compliments people like most and remember most are those that seem to have a bearing on their personality and attributes rather than on a specific feature. People like to hear, ‘That hat looks great on you,’ but they’d rather hear, ‘You have great taste.’” You can be specific and generalize about the host’s personality at the same time. For instance, you might say: “You come up with so many great uses for fresh herbs.”

Even after rhapsodizing about the food during dinner, you should thank your host a second time, a day or two later. The first time you compliment him or her, your host might be tipsy and not remember it afterward. Plus, many people are embarrassed by compliments and often can’t fully enjoy them in the moment. So it’s nice to offer your appreciation in a form they can savor, like email or snail mail.

Try not to start with the phrase thank you. If you shun this clichéd beginning, it shows you’ve gone to extra trouble with your note. “It forces you to be creative,”

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http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/05/10/7-tips-for-giving-effective-praise

http://library.characterfirst.com/qualities/attentiveness/praise

They did care more than you ever, ever realized

Rich Kid, Poor Kid: For 30 Years, Baltimore Study Tracked Who Gets Ahead
August 07, 2014
http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/08/07/335285098/rich-kid-poor-kid-for-30-years-baltimore-study-tracked-who-gets-ahead

Houser didn’t realize it at the time, but he thinks his parents did a pretty good job with him.
“There comes a point where … it was even before I had a kid, you realize they did a damn good job, and they actually did care more than you ever, ever realized, and that’s a powerful thing when you realize that,” he says.
[related: https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/parent-values-peer-values]

the Hopkins researchers undertook a massive study. They followed nearly 800 kids in Baltimore — from first grade until their late-20s.

They found that a child’s fate is in many ways fixed at birth — determined by family strength and the parents’ financial status.

The kids who got a better start — because their parents were married and working — ended up better off. Most of the poor kids from single-parent families stayed poor.

Just 33 children — out of nearly 800 — moved from the low-income to high-income bracket.

JHU note:
http://hub.jhu.edu/2014/06/02/karl-alexander-long-shadow-research

a novel based in Baltimore:
https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/on-such-a-full-sea-a-fable

I am who I am because of them.

Helen Mirren: Like Night Follows Day, Roles For Women Will Reflect Real Life
August 07, 2014
http://www.npr.org/2014/08/07/338619922/helen-mirren-like-night-follows-day-roles-for-women-will-reflect-real-life

On French exceptionalism:
There is an element in the French that is like that, you know, and I’m a huge Francophile. But there is an element of this immense – well you know, chauvinist is a French word, chauvinist is a feeling that you are really the best in the world at everything. And for a while I concurred with the French in their opinion of themselves. I did think everything French was the best.

John Gielgud always said, “It all comes from the spine,” and he’s absolutely right.
Posture is everything.
And it’s nice to play a role where you have to remember to stand up straight. But in general, posture is just one of the secrets of life and longevity, I think.

On being a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire:
Oh, is that the full title? … It sounds very military. … I still can’t believe it, honestly. Well, it’s been 10 years, I just have never got used to it. And it still seems … utterly weird to me. I just don’t feel like … dame material. …

It’s a wonderful honor. And I think my great sadness was my parents weren’t alive to see it, because they would’ve been so amazed. They were not monarchists, my parents, at all — they were very fierce Republicans — but I think they would’ve recognized it, which is what it is. It’s an honor from your country.

And as the daughter of an immigrant — my father was not born in Britain, he was born in Russia — so, you know, they would’ve been so very, very proud, I think, that: “Look, look what we all did together.” Because I am who I am because of them. There’s absolutely no doubt about that.

The Emotional Life of Your Brain

Express gratitude

The Emotional Life of Your Brain
Forbes. July 07, 2014
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2014/07/07/sleep-switch-for-consciousness-may-have-been-accidentally-found-in-the-brain

Our personalities, thought patterns and emotional responses are wired into our brains, says Richard Davidson, Ph.D., author of The Emotional Life of Your Brain, but you can change your brain. Here are several exercises that will help rewire the neural pathways to help you think more positively, become more self-aware, focus better, understand social cues, ease your emotional triggers and grow more resilient:

1. Make Your Home And Workspace Optimistic

2. Express Gratitude
Davidson says expressing gratitude regularly will help you feel more optimistic. Make the effort to look someone in the eyes and say “thank you,” and keep a journal to daily remind yourself of what’s good in your life.

3. Compliment others
By finding and making opportunities to compliment others, you’ll train your brain to see the good in people, in life and in yourself, says Davidson.

4. Pay Attention To Body Language
If you’d like to become more socially intuitive and good at dealing with people, Davidson suggests making an effort to watch people’s body language while in public and try to guess what emotions they are expressing. Then, start to take notice of friends and colleague’s facial cues and body language and how it corresponds to their tone of voice.

5. Identify Emotional Triggers
If you’d like to be less emotionally reactive and more tuned in to context, Davidson advises regularly making a list of the specific events or behaviors that triggered your response. Then spend about 15 minutes thinking about these behaviors while breathing deeply until you feel comfortable and more relaxed.

6. Do A Mindfulness Meditation
a new book on the topic:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/07/12/330680160/searching-for-stress-relief-try-feeling-your-breath