The process you engaged with at the end of Dream Two (affectionately known as the "love sequence" at Betwixt HQ) is based on extensive research into the benefits of practising gratitude, a key factor of which involves focusing on what one has, rather than what one lacks.
An article from Harvard Medical School's online publication states this:
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude). Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone's gratitude, it's a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.
The good news is that developing the skill of gratitude doesn't have to be an onerous task. By simply taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate the things around us — no matter how small or fleeting — we actively choose to focus our energy on the “goodness of life”, rather than the setbacks, failures and disappointments. What this means is that we prime our minds to notice and receive the things we want, and in doing this, we can reduce the time spent worrying about what might stand in our way.
Three Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude
If you'd like to supercharge your gratitude abilities, try these things:
Say "thank you"
Probably the simplest way to bring gratitude into your life is to verbally thank the people who contribute something of value (to you or others), or who just make you feel good. Giving sincere thanks is actually quite a vulnerable thing to do, which means it doesn't come naturally to everyone. To prepare for this task, write a list of the people you spend the most time with and note down all the things you could thank them for.
Write thank-you letters
A randomised controlled study conducted by Berkley University divided a group of 300 participants — mostly university students seeking mental health counselling — into three groups. All participants received counselling, one group was also asked to write about their deepest throughs and feelings, and a third was asked to write a letter of gratitude to another person once a week over a three-week period. The study found that the gratitude group reported significantly better mental health both four and twelve weeks after the writing exercise was completed.
Keep a gratitude diary
Journaling is perhaps the most popular means of practising gratitude. If you use the Creative Mission for Dream Two of Betwixt, you'll engage in an expressive writing process that helps you take a more detailed look at something you feel grateful for.
And, if you'd like to keep an ongoing gratitude diary, make a note daily about something you love, enjoy and/or feel thankful for in your life.