I spent some precious years as a teenager growing up in South Florida, so my memories of that time are vivid. I can easily conjure up the sweet smell of the Gulf Coast, and the experience of a Florida sunrise. The late afternoon rain, and the Spanish moss swaying from the trees.
Some of my dearest friends are born and bred Floridians, who love the state in a way that tourists can never understand. A small band of us share landscape and wildlife photos. Words are not necessary.
I am grateful for the seasons here in the Carolinas. As the leaves change this time of year, there are Maple trees along my drive into the studio that are simply stunning. My friends in Florida love seeing them. They share photos of Florida wildlife–birds and manatees. I share Dogwoods in the morning sun when they start to turn red. When we have an occasional snow, I send shots of the view from my front window. When my buddy Geoffrey and his wife Robbie take their annual sojourn to Key West, they send photos of that rare sunset.
Isn’t the sharing of meaningful photos with friends and family an expression of gratitude? Photos of not only breath-taking views–but also shots of the kids, high school reunions, and our pets are shared with an unspoken feeling of gratitude–as if to say, “Look! Isn’t it wonderful/beautiful/sweet/hilarious?”
Of course, your recipient has to share your appreciation of the subject matter! Too many selfies are more about you than sharing something meaningful with us.
The Science of Gratitude
Practiced with intention, gratitude is more than just a moment of feeling good. Recently scientists have begun to research gratitude and the circumstances in which it thrives or diminishes.
The research shows that people who take a moment to practice gratitude consistently experience a startling list of benefits such as:
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure
- Higher levels of positive emotions
- More joy, optimism, and happiness
- Acting with more generosity and compassion
- Feeling less lonely and isolated
There are many ways to express gratitude from a simple “thank you” to behold a beautiful sight, and a photo of that view sent to someone who understands the gratitude you’re feeling.