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Giving & Gratitude

Lesson 6 from: FAST CLASS: The Power of Happiness

Vanessa Van Edwards

Giving & Gratitude

Lesson 6 from: FAST CLASS: The Power of Happiness

Vanessa Van Edwards

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Lesson Info

6. Giving & Gratitude

Lesson Info

Giving & Gratitude

Now I'm going to teach you two very quick buttons for happiness. I call this gratitude for real people and that's because I think that on a day-to-day basis, we're busy and that's a terrible reason to not be grateful, but it's a real reason, right? And so I want to talk about how that works in our busy, everyday life. Two, this is where we get into the big stuff. Why we're here, what we're gonna leave as a legacy. And so I'm hoping to challenge you to think a little bit bigger for your life. And lastly, these are both longterm and short term triggers. So G-spots, right? Instant pleasure, and also the big longterm pleasure. As always, I'd like to start with a warmup. So for this exercise, I would love you to get out your workbook. You can also get out in the free bonuses when you hit RSVP, I have something called Your Best Future Self Exercise. So you can pull that out in your bonuses. It's also in your workbook. Pull that out for me. If you get out a pen, that would be wonderful. What ...

we are going to do is a very powerful activity that is called Your Best Future Self Exercise. And it was developed by Sonja Lyubomirsky, and I love this exercise. In fact, in your workbook, if you've printed it out, and by the way, if you're at home, I highly recommend printing this guy out. It's kind of nice to have it. Please, dog ear this page, or add a little post it to this page, because this is an exercise that I want you to do again, right? This is one of those exercises that is incredibly powerful. So here's what we're gonna do. First, in your mind, I want you to imagine yourself at some point in the future, months, years, decades from now. Second, I want you to think of your biggest goals and dreams that are on your plate right now, and imagine that they have been accomplished in a realistic, but best possible way, right? So something you're working towards ends up in the best possible outcome. And then I want you to write down, think about, what does that feel like? What does that look like? So don't write down what you accomplished. I want you to write down the feeling of what your life looks like once you've accomplished that huge goal or those huge goals. And if you can, think of that one word to capitalize, right? What's that one word, what's one way to describe that feeling? So what's cool about this exercise is that researchers have found, there's a lot of research on this, that this specific kind of exercise, this kind of expressive self-writing has a bunch of different benefits for us. One, it helps us clarify our priorities. Because if we think of the future feeling, it helps us think about what do I need to do to get to that future feeling, right? So it helps us clarify and also brings us greater self awareness, reduces goal conflict. And that actually is a problem, when your goals actually are competing. It brings about feelings of control. Remember how important control is from day number four. And then it boosts psychological wellbeing. And there's tons of studies that show this. That exercise took us what, like five minutes? So just that exercise, if you're looking for an instant sort of G-spot of happiness, that is something that you can just open up your notebook to, pull out your journal, and do it. So it's a really easy one to reset a funk if you're in one. So remember this graphic from day one of the course where I talked about the myth of happiness. So we often go through all these things and we wait to go over to happiness. We hope they'll bring us happiness. So when we look at this chart, I actually wanna clarify something here. I don't think that those things are bad, right? I think that it's great to get a raise. It's great to buy your dream home. It's wonderful to find a partner and pay off your student loans. But we have to put it in a different box. It's not the same box as happiness-producing. These are resume building activities. Wonderful. The other side is something different. I believe those are eulogy building activities, and those are two different things that are both equally important. So I want us to think about the differences between resume building and eulogy building. Very curious, can anyone in here name the last three Heisman trophy winners? No one. How about last three winners of Miss America? No? How about three wealthiest people in the world? So we don't know these names, yet most of us spend a lot of our energy on winning things, being really wealthy, on our looks, being the prettiest. Yet we don't actually know these names. However, how about this. Name your three closest friends. You can just say it out loud. Everyone's shy. (audience murmuring and laughing) (laughs) You can write it down. You can write it down, you're all really nervous. That was supposed to be an easier question than the other one. How about write down your three closest friends or list three teachers who have changed your life. Think of the teachers you've had, who've just changed the way you think. Think of three people that you care about. Right, so I actually think that it'd be really hard to strive to be one of the three richest Americans. But it's not hard to try to be a teacher that's gonna change someone's life, right? That's a much easier thing, and that's actually what we remember. It's easier to try to be an amazing, amazing friend. So this is the difference between two sides. This is not wrong, but they're, they fall into a different category of why we are here. So specifically, resume building activities. This is actually your mastery areas. I want you to think about, and you already did these for, with your fives, fours, and fives. What are your top three mastery areas? I want you to think about how can you make your resume building activities, tie into your mastery areas. That's great, but that's day two, right? The next thing I want you to think about is what are the three things you want to be remembered for? This is a much harder one. Can be small, like being an amazing friend, which actually isn't that small. It can be raising an amazing family. It could be part of your work, right? Leaving a legacy of work. I want you to start thinking about these two things as separate, but not necessarily equal, right? They're both very worthy goals, but they're different kinds of goals. And for this one specifically, to help you with this, I've created this concept called the G-spots. So G-spots are two very quick-producing pleasureful activities. And the reason why we have trouble with these, the problem with this, is we all know we should be more grateful, right? Like every happiness article, every magazine we've ever read about happiness tells you to be more grateful. And when I started on my happiness journey, this was what I was faced with, where every book that I read was like, "Just wake up and be grateful." And every day I'd get up, and something would happen. I'd make lunch, or I'd check my email and go the whole day. And I'd be like, "Oh, I wasn't grateful today" So it ended up being this thing on my to do list that wasn't even giving me any happiness, that gave me guilt when I didn't do it. And so it was this thing I felt like I should do, but I never did. I have a very different way to think about gratitude, which we're gonna learn. And this is actually G-spot number one, but I'm not going to teach you the solution just yet. We know the science of gratitude. Science has found that it helps the immune system and prevents depression. It helps our relationships. Before I teach you the permanent solution, let's do a short-term joy moment. I actually have for all of us, I wanna do a little gratitude bomb. Everyone in the audience, I'm gonna pass out some thank you cards. And I want you to write "Dear," and the name of someone that you want to thank. Here's the thing. I want you to thank someone who hasn't given you a physical thing. So I want you to write a thank you note to someone who has given you something on that eulogy building side. An amazing teacher, an amazing friend. And I want you to actually start that thank you note. So at home, what I want you to do is pull out either an email. You could start an email to someone, grab your phone and text someone, or you can write a good pen and paper thank you note. And by the way, I'll mail yours for you if you want. (audience laughing) No worries on that. And I want you to text someone right now that you are grateful for them in some way. And it has to be something thanking them for something that is not a physical object. So I have a gratitude bomb, as you guys fill out your Dear. So write their name on the front of the card. You don't have to write the whole thing if you don't want to. I have a bunch of thanks to give. First of all, I have to thank my team. Oh my goodness, my team, my Science of People team. There's six of us, Danielle, Jose, Haley, Robbie, Emily, Lauren, you guys are amazing. They've been on social media a lot. So at home, if you're in the Twitter, on Twitter or on our Facebook group, you're interacting with my amazing team. Also my CreativeLive team. Oh my goodness, you don't see all the amazing people behind the cameras, in the dark hole of a room back there behind that wall that I don't get to see. I just want to thank CreativeLive so much for having me. For you guys, for being in this audience, for making time in your very busy schedules to be here and giving me these personal answers. I'm so grateful for your vulnerability. I also want to thank my Science People trainers. So we have over 80 Science People trainers who are trained in teaching these techniques. They're all over the world. They are amazing. They Tweet out the course. They send me new research. And they are a huge part of our team and growing brands. So thank you guys so much. And you at home. So the coolest thing after each of these days is going on Twitter and going on Facebook and seeing all of your happy ahas. I am so grateful for you watching. I know that time is precious. So the fact that you take time to watch this course with me, I am so, so grateful. So do you guys start writing your, do everyone have a name written down? Make sure you write a name. Don't worry, I won't ask you, 'cause I know that's very, very personal. Everyone got a name? Okay. G-spot number two, which I'm gonna teach you how I want to do this is giving. So we know that giving is incredibly powerful. In fact, in one study, they asked one group of students to do something enjoyable, something fun, and they asked another group of students to do something altruistic. It could be anything they chose. Both groups got a momentary burst of pleasure. They felt good in the moment from that enjoyable activity, like eating a piece of cake. However, the altruistic group felt better all day long. So what happens is, is when we do something pleasurable, like an enjoyable play storming activity, that does give us that nice boost of happiness. However, altruism is an enjoyable activity where the enjoyment lasts much longer than that initial burst of dopamine. So when we talk about altruism, I love, of course, the classic quintessential quote by Gandhi. "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself "in the service of others." I have that posted on my mirror. So my solution here is something called a Cause Champion. So while I was researching giving, and I was trying to think of a way to turn this kind of fuzzy idea of altruism into something specific, I realized that a lot of us know we should give back, right? We know we should give to charity. We want to do nice things, but these opportunities tend to pass us by and there'll be months or years when we've, when we haven't done anything altruistic. So what I found was is that one thing that happens a lot is we remember specific causes that our friends have. In other words, you were mentioning how in your family, your husband loves trains. And so anytime anyone sees a picture of a train, you texted to him. Something in my life happened where one of my friends is obsessed with breakfast tacos. (audience laughing) It's a really silly thing. And so whenever anyone sees breakfast tacos on the menu, we tend to text each other. And I was like, why is it that those little things you remember so well? If you know someone who's a big Lakers fan you, whatever a Lakers thing comes on, you think of that friend. I was wondering what if we can take that and make them causes? What if every person in your life knew your one cause? That every time you had a birthday, you asked everyone for donations to that charity, that whenever that charity had a big drive going on, you posted about it, that you had a badge right up top on your Facebook or your Instagram. So that people actually, when they think of you, they associate you with that cause. Just like we wear our favorite team's jerseys, I think we should each have a cause that we champion, so everyone in our life thinks of us with that. The reason why that's powerful is because it's exponential giving. One is it has you claim that one cause that you want, and the moment you claim a cause, it really helps you stand behind it. Second is you encourage others to think more altruistically. And third, they mirror it back to you, right? So if you ask people to support or click through to your favorite cause, the next time they see you, they'll ask you, "Hey, how did that cause do?" And you're like, "Ah, right, I should go on and check." So you actually end up setting up your own feedback loop when you pick your cause. And so what I want to do in here, and with you at home, is I want to actually pick each of your causes. I'm hoping that right now we can sit and start to think about, if you had to pick one favorite sports team, but really one favorite giving idea, what would it be? So here's how we're going to do it. And this is I think the biggest thing that we can do, I really, really encourage you to not do this exercise passively, right? Don't just think that you want to give more altruistically. I actually want you to pick something really specific and then make a pledge to do it. And I'm gonna help you with it. So to help you with this, in your bonuses, you have a little thing called the Giving Warmup. This is gonna help you try to find what your cause is. So if you turn to that for your Giving Warmup, and I think I actually have this also, yup, I have it also in your workbook for you, so you don't have to open up your bonuses. So a couple of questions for us to think about, and I'm gonna have the audience answer for us as well. If you had $1 million to donate, what would you do with it? How about think back in your life? When was the last time you sensed profound meaning and purpose? So now I'm talking about your values, right? When was the time, this can be something small or something big. It doesn't have to be giving, right? It could be another time. I'm trying to tap into your values of that legacy. So when was a time you felt that meaning or purpose? Who do you wish you could help more? And when I say who, it can be someone specific in your life. It could also be a type of person. So in your workbook I have, and this is the big one, the Giving Challenge, okay? This is how we get real specific about what we want to do with our time and our energy. There are four steps, I believe, to this process, okay, if we really wanna make it official to turn just the idea of being more altruistic into actually being more altruistic. First, I want you to think about your values, okay? And this is how cause champions stick with us. I think a lot of the time we get on these kicks, right? Someone says, "Donate clothes to the clothing drive." We're like, "Yeah, I'm going to do that." And we donate clothes, but it didn't really hit our values. And so we kind of forget about it. Or we give once to a, you know, Feed the Children campaign. But that wasn't necessarily the thing that really got our heart pounding, and so we don't give again, So I want you to start with your values. Like if you could change one thing in the world, or if you have that moment with clients that makes you feel like, wow, that was worth it, I want us to start there, that moment you felt intense meaning and purpose. Like for example, it might be working with young girls for that shift, right? So that you're getting that with paying clients. And then you can also tell your paying clients, "Your payments support clients that don't pay." Right, like so that they know that. Do your research. The second one is before you pick something, I want you to actually get really serious. Like this is gonna be your thing right? For the rest of your life, hopefully. Don't pick it willy nilly. Do research to figure out what organization is the best. What would really be a fit for your time and your financial situation? I want you to make sure that this is a cause that really fits you and your lifestyle and your income. And you can give with time, you can give with energy, you can give with skills and you can give with money. Money is not the only thing that we have to give. Third, make some kind of a pledge. And again, this does not have to be money. This is, "I'm going to help X number of people." Or, "Every Christmas, I'm going to give three different trees." Or, "I'm gonna open the door for every woman "I walk next to." Right? Make some kind of quantifiable, measurable pledge in some way, so it's actually a specific idea, not a general idea. And the last one is broadcast it. Promise it. Share it. Because you, by doing that, you're giving everyone else a gift. You're reminding them that they want to be more altruistic, and they're also going to bounce that back to you next time they see you. And please tell me, happy minute of words, what your champion is. I wanna know what you decide to do. So the second G-spot is about finding gratitude. So just like with giving, we all know we should do it, but it was really hard to remember. So here is how I came up with the idea of a way to remember gratitude. This is my lip balm that I use before night, before I go to bed at night, and it's on my bedside table. And this thing happens to me when I get into bed where I remember things that I was supposed to do that day, right? Like, "Oh, I gotta call the gardener." Right, I like throw it. So I would take this and I would throw it across the room. Cause I realized that I didn't want to get out of bed and write down my to do list, 'cause I was too tired. But if I took something from my bedside table and I threw it across the room, when I got up the next morning, I'd be walking and I'd be like, "Why is this? "Oh, I gotta call the gardener." (audience laughing) Right? So it was like this reminder that I would do for myself. My poor husband, I would like be in bed and I would like throw it across the room, and he'd be like, "Huh? "Like what is happening?" And I'm like, "Oh, don't worry. "It's just my to do list making noises." (audience laughing) So this works really well, right? This was a great way. Every morning, I would see that item on the floor and I'd be like, "Ah, yeah, I have to do that thing." And I wondered, could you do that for gratitude? Where instead of relying on just our mind to remember to be grateful, what if something in our life reminded us to be grateful? That's a much easier way to remember it because you're not relying on you, you're seeing it in your external environment. And this is when I came up with the idea of a totem. So a totem is a symbol, a reminder, or representation that serves as an emblem. It helps remind the user of an idea, memory, or behavior. So what I want us to do is come up with our own gratitude totem. This is an emblem or a thing or a symbol of something in your life that reminds you of this idea to be grateful, so that you're not having to source it from your own brain. My gratitude totem is a red light. And what I mean by that is when I'm driving down from my house, there is one red light and I swear this light is timed against me. It stops me every single time. And it became like this life pebble, right? Like I would drive down the hill and I'd be like, "Don't do it, don't do it." Cause I can like, see it, I'd be like, "No, stay green, stay green." I'm like, (groans) like I always get the red. I think it's like times against my lights from going down the hill. So I realize that I had to shift something, right? I could not let this red light be the bad mood, cause of my bad moods going forward. So whenever I'm stopped at that red light, I think of all the things I'm grateful for. Like I actually now want to stop at that red light because I know that that is a moment I'm gonna take to say, okay, here are the three or four or five, depending on how long the light is. If I have to, for the entire red light, keeping up gratitude things. So I changed something that would have been either a little bit annoying or totally neutral into a gratitude moment. So here's some gratitude ideas for you, some totem ideas for you. So it can be an object, right? Maybe your morning coffee, if you brew morning coffee and you stand there and you wait, maybe as it trickles out and the beautiful smell comes up in the kitchen, maybe that, those few first few seconds are your gratitude moment. Maybe it's looking at a plant or looking at something in your life, that symbol that reminds you of it. It could also be a process. Every time you brush your teeth, you think of something you want to be grateful for. My red light or every time you water your garden, you think of something to be grateful for. Could also be a time. So a couple of our first happiness students picked times. So at 3:33 PM was a gratitude time. That entire minute they had a little reminder that went off at 3:33. That was a gratitude moment. Right before bed or maybe your first three thoughts, right? Right when you wake up, your first three thoughts should be gratitude thoughts. It can also be people. So we heard a couple of different examples of people with my first students. They said, when your child laughs what a beautiful, like, sound, right? That every time they hear their child laugh, they take a moment, it's kind of what you were saying. When your son makes something for you, you take a moment, you're like, "Ah, I'm gonna enjoy this. "I'm going to savor it." Or you change the sound of your best friend's text. So whenever they text you, that gives you a little moment to be grateful for that friend. So these are just different ideas for ways that we can incorporate gratitude in our life, where it our life reminds us to be grateful, as opposed to relying on our brain to have to remind us. The big thing here is then to share it. So you don't have to share your gratitude totem, but I actually highly recommend sharing it with people in your life. So I want you at home to think of your gratitude totem. It can be a process, a thing, or a person. Share it with me. Always share that you're grateful with me. Reminds me to be grateful. It's my ask to you guys to make me more grateful. And lastly, our bonus, is I had everyone in the audience start their card. Please finish your card, and if you're at home, send a text to someone that you care about just telling them you care about them. We do not do that enough. And that is a gift in itself.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Desktop Backgrounds
Best Future Selves
Citation List
Happiness Audit
Happiness Benefits
Happiness Means Forgiveness
Happiness Scripts
Happiness Structure
Happy Calendar
Happy Reading List
K10 Test For Distress
Partner In Joy
Power of Happiness Workbook
The 4 Motivators
The Giving Warmup
Virtual Toolbox