A Twenty-one Day Study of Gratitude, Happiness, and Meaning



A Twenty-one Day Study of Gratitude, Happiness, and Meaning





The human mind is powerful.  Brain study, philosophy, and religion tell us about significant values, reflect a legacy and story of a time and space, support communication, and are complex.  This series of twenty-one studies regarding gratitude, happiness, and meaning encompasses some of the key characteristics of brain science, philosophy, and religious studies. The series began with a desire to capture favorite quotes, thoughts, and expertise.  Over time, day-by-day, the draw, context, and nature of gratitude, happiness, and meaning was captured.  There was no deliberate decision or bias to convey certain subjects and not others, rather the desire was to curate evidence, memorable images, and an overall account of gratitude, happiness, and meaning.  For example, laughing so hard you cry, hiking in nature, bread, and wine.  

Many of us are transformed into a happy disposition by our environment.  For instance, The Pointe is a quaint, seaside community nestled in the Orange Coast of California.  The town is situated beachside along the pristine Pacific Ocean, between magnificent cliffs and headlands.  Residents have nicknamed it the “California Riviera”.  The Pointe is bold, panoramic, and truly alluring.  Cooking and entertaining is an opportunity to share with family and friends.  Growing up I learned the basics of good cooking, baking, entertaining, gardening, and entrepreneurship.  I am grateful to be living in this fabled locale.

A synthesis of the twenty-one day study led to a rediscovery and a sharing of an appreciation with others regarding the power of how we approach life.  As Emerson observed, “For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.” (“Prayer 71”)  Thoughtful insights are gleamed from the study of gratitude, happiness, and meaning through asking essential and effective questions, utilizing reliable resources, and incorporating real-life connections with cross-curricular expertise.  The process requires curiosity, carefully reading, listening, and connecting the dots between multiple genres.  

Studying and executing what you learn can liberate and inspire yourself and others.  You do not need to be a professional scholar to start a series of your own, although a background in Liberal Studies, the classics, or science is beneficial to provide context to what others have to say about happiness.  It takes time each day, reading books (such as Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician), experience, and practice.  If you embark on your own series you will learn about a variety of stories, topics, perspectives, and more in relation to happiness.  The process and result of this twenty-one day series is a treasure.  The research, quotes, and photos in this series reveal beauty in others, how others tell the evocative and moody story of the human experience, and captures the gorgeous peaks and valleys of life.




A study of gratitude, happiness, and meaning can begin at any time and for any reason.  For pure inquisitiveness, a desire to be in a healthier disposition, when you are at a peak or valley.  As actress Stephanie Zimbalist noted, “Our Creator…one of best things we can do to honor that Creator is to be grateful and to show gratitude and give thanks. And appreciation.  Even in our lowest moments.  Just give true appreciation.  And probably in the moments when life isn’t going the best for us is the time to do it the most…The troughs are there as much as the peaks for our growth.”




Emily Esfahani Smith posed this question in The Atlantic, “How do the happy life and the meaningful life differ?”  Smith’s thought provoking curiosity is at the core of this twenty-one day study.  Your creativity, choices, resources, awareness of your own abilities, and execution of good habits is essential to your own study of happiness.  Execution and implementation can be a challenge, although without implementing the proper disposition, all the reading of books and quotes will not give you more gratitude, more happiness, nor more meaning.  Rather than a specific plan, this series of articles supplies inspiration and ideas to spark your own endeavor. 


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Credits:  http://www.bethlehemdundee.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2015-10-NEWSLETTER.pdf, http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work/transcript?language=en, http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/01/theres-more-to-life-than-being-happy/266805/, http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/education/2015/10/29/want-happier-challenge-promises-success-21-days/74694488/, http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/train-your-brain-for-happiness/, Credo In Hollywood https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGN5VzNrqn4, facebook.com/MonarchBeachGolf

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