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Lessons on Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg

    Lessons on Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg

    Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg led a TED Talk on gratitude that took the world by storm.  He teaches people that anyone can find something to be grateful for. In doing so, they will dramatically improve nearly every aspect of their lives.

    Schwartzberg’s 2011 Gratitude TED Talk has been seen by tens of millions of people around the globe. Schwartzberg decided that he wanted to delve even deeper into the science of gratitude.  In turn, he hopes to help people feel more connected to themselves, their lives, the planet, and their loved ones.

    He created a series of 15 short films that explore the mystery of the power of gratitude. These include tools to help everyday people implement the practice into their routines.

    In this article, learn more about the principles of gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg.  Also, learn of the science of gratitude’s impact so you can harness the power of gratefulness in your life.

    Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg

    Louie Schwartzberg is a nature photographer and videographer by trade.  He uses powerful images captured from the natural world to enhance his message of gratitude. You can find his work on Netflix in his show “Moving Art,” and on Disney and National Geographic.

    In the TED Talk called Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg, the filmmaker pairs time-lapsed photography with dialogue from a Benedictine Monk named Brother David Steindl-Rast.

    He states that “nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.” Truly, it’s a perfect way to introduce people to the idea of incorporating more thankfulness in their lives.

    In the short film, Steindl-Rast dictates the following dialogue, which can serve as a gratitude meditation when paired with the entrancing images available in the TED Talk.

    “You think this is just another day in your life? It’s not just another day. It is the one day that is given to you today. It’s given to you. It’s a gift.

    It’s the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness.

    If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.

    Let’s Begin

    First, begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes that can open. That incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment.

    Next, look at the sky, we so rarely look at the sky. We so rarely note how different it is from moment to moment with clouds coming and going.

    We just think of the weather, and even of the weather, we don’t think of all the many nuances of weather. Usually, we just think of good weather and bad weather.

    This day right now is unique weather, maybe a kind that will never exactly in that form come again.

    The formation of clouds in the sky will never be the same that it is right now.

    Then, open your eyes. Look at that.

    Look at the faces of people whom you meet. Each one has an incredible story behind their face, a story that you could never fully fathom. Not only their own story but the story of their ancestors. We all go back so far.

    And in this present moment on this day, all the people you meet, all that life from generations of so many places all over the world, flows together and meets you here like a life-giving water if you only open your heart and drink.

    “Gratitude” Continued

    Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us.

    If you flip a switch, there’s electric light.

    You turn a faucet, and there is warm water and cold water and drinkable water. It’s a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience.

    So, these are just a few of the enormous number of gifts to which we can open your heart. And so, I wish you would open your heart to all of these blessings and let them flow through you, that everyone who you meet on this day will be blessed by you.

    Just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch, just by your presence.

    Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you.

    Then, it will really be a good day.” – Brother David Steindl-Rast

    What Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg Teaches Us

    Schwartzberg’s Gratitude Revealed series addresses how gratitude scientifically impacts us.  Some of these ways are creativity, purpose, generosity, energy, focus, courage, happiness, patience, love, mindfulness, connection, and forgiveness.

    In his research on gratitude, Schwartzberg found the following positive benefits of practicing gratitude daily.

    Grateful People Are Happier

    Grateful people experience more happiness through optimism, enthusiasm, and general joy.  They also have more profound appreciation for their experiences in life. This is according to research from the University of California Riverside.

    Grateful People Have Better Health

    Schwartzberg states that studies link gratitude practices to improved sleep.  You may also see improved bodily function, reduced risk for heart disease, and a strong immune system.

    Gratitude Makes Relationships Better

    Feeling grateful for another person, whether it’s a partner, a friend, or a family member, improves your relationship with that person.  This is because you’ll feel closer to them and more satisfied with the overall relationship.

    Gratitude is Good for Kids

    Teaching kids how to practice gratitude will improve their grades and their friendships.  It will also make them less susceptible to desiring material things.

    Gratitude is a Skill You Can Learn

    By using a gratitude journal or practicing other techniques for generating gratitude in your life, you can learn how to be grateful and reap the rewards!

    Gratitude Begets More Gratitude

    When you’re grateful for the daily happenstance in your life, you’re more likely to pay the favors forward to other people.

    Gratitude Improves Our Finances

    If you are grateful for what you already have in life, you’re less likely to impulsively spend money on things you don’t really need. Thereby this will improve your financial standing and security.

    How to Harness Gratitude in Your Life

    Schwartzberg provides two exercises, as shared by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, to help people practice the skill of cultivating gratitude.

    Gratitude Journal

    To start a gratitude journal, make sure to set aside at least fifteen minutes per day for a few days per week.  Do this over the course of a minimum of two weeks to write down up to five things that you’re grateful for each day.

    Use a dedicated notebook so you can return to the pages when you’re feeling glum or negative.

    Be specific. Instead of “I am grateful for health,” consider writing instead “I am grateful I can breathe clearly and easily today.”

    Focus on people’s actions rather than material things.

    Think of everything that you’re grateful for as a gift that you were given.

    Gratitude Letter

    Gratitude letters are a great way to benefit both yourself and the person for whom you are grateful for.

    To write a gratitude letter, think of something that someone did for you that you are grateful for.  Perhaps it is something that you never adequately expressed to them. Now, write them a letter, directed to them, to tell them why you’re so thankful.

    If possible, deliver this letter to the person directly and read it to them.


    In conclusion, Schwartzberg makes an impact on viewers through his stunning visual imagery and time-lapse photos from nature. Eventually, in watching these images, people feel drawn to their true essence.  They also temporarily relieve their need for materialistic possessions, and in turn become more grateful for what really matters in life – this precious present moment.

    You, too, can benefit from a gratefulness practice. All it takes is a notebook or a piece of paper and approximately 15 minutes to jot down what you’re thankful for. As a result, watch the power of gratitude transform your health, relationships, finances, and happiness!