By April Rain

Digital Gratitude: Why We Should Give Thanks to Digital

Science has proven the profound effects gratitude has on the human brain. Forcing a smile or a laugh can actually trick your brain into thinking you’re happy, despite your current mood. People who express gratitude in their everyday lives typically lead more fulfilled lives, complete with an abundance of love, better interpersonal relationships, more positive emotions and they are even healthier in comparison to their bitter counterparts.

A 2014 study published in Oxford University’s Journal of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience provides evidence of a “gratitude gene” in our genetic makeup that may be the reason some people are more naturally grateful than others. They found variations in gene (CD38) to be associated with gratitude. We do have the power however, to choose to be grateful.

While the Internet of things has produced clutter, noise (and possibly even socially awkward behaviors), we have to take a moment to step back and realize what it has brought us. Number one is a universal connection to everyone and everything. The digital universe has allowed people to network with each other and with information in a way that is beyond any other technological innovation of this century. Social media gives people a voice. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites allow you to take your inner gratitude and share it with the world.

Smartphones have given us the luxury of taking that network and carrying it with us wherever we go, constantly connected to the people, information, and ideas we seek. Search engines have given us access to the answers to all our questions within seconds, information that would take days or weeks to receive in pre-digital times.

Marketers should be especially thankful for the limitless channels of connection opportunities the digital realm provides. Things like paid search and Facebook ads make it possible to target and reach an audience at a low cost. Digital marketing in general is significantly less expensive than traditional ad spots no matter what the media outlet.

You may have heard of 365 Grateful, as it has received a lot of buzz across the Internet in recent years. It started as one photographer’s project and ended up becoming a contagious digital phenomenon. This genius idea forces people to remember to be grateful by sharing something different they are thankful for not just on Thanksgiving, but every single day of the year. 

And yes, there’s an app for that! The Gratitude! App asks users to log five things they’re grateful for each day. By choosing to be grateful it helps us appreciate the little things in life. For example, if you hate your job, it may force you to see the positives like how thankful you are for a paycheck to feed your family, or for everything you’ve learned, or the people your job has introduced you to. Behind every one of life’s dilemmas or stressors lies something to be found – a light at the end of the tunnel or a lesson learned from a tough situation.

In the words of New York Times writer, Arthur C. Brooks, “This Thanksgiving, don’t express gratitude only when you feel it. Give thanks especially when you don’t feel it.”

Special Message from Digital Rain Inc.: Digital Rain would be nothing without the clients, peers, and opportunities digital marketing has afforded us. We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to the companies and individuals who believe in our work and our values, with the largest piece of our gratitude dedicated to our customers. We are grateful for everyone who took the time to read this blog. Today and every day, we will remember to be grateful.