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The Science of Gratitude

The idea of practicing gratitude can be a fluffy topic, but it’s finally leaving the yoga mat and entering the mainstream. Here at Tremendousness we thought it was important to help add to that momentum. Part of what’s stoking gratitude’s recent popularity is the amount of research that’s going into it—and the positive proof that’s coming out.

Here’s the main takeaway for you: gratitude improves your health.

The fact that the neural pathways in your brain can be rerouted to make you a more positive—and healthier—person is powerful. And while hard science plays a big role in recent research, we made a conscious decision to avoid overly medical and scientific representations in this project. In fact, we worked hard to figure out how abstract visual concepts and metaphors could help create create a calm, clear, fun, and meaningful narrative around the science of gratitude and how to incorporate it into your daily life.

You can read more about our motivation to do the project in this blog post, but let’s take a closer look at the end result.

As mentioned, this video is way more abstract than anything we’ve previously done. There are two reasons for that.

  1. Honestly, we just didn’t want to draw brains. We didn’t want to draw smiling people or diligent researchers. We didn’t want to go with our first ideas or end up surrounded by old clichés. No hearts, no hugs, no happy faces (well, there is one happy face in the infographic—but it’s kind of an Easter Egg!)
  2. We wanted to challenge ourselves to convey these ideas in a simple but meaningful way, using the most basic tools in the drawing toolbox: lines, dots, curves, shapes (and words).

We’re really happy with how the video came out, although it made it a bit harder to get the static infographic to work. The motion in the video is so crucial to the storytelling, but a typical infographic can’t move.

We ended up arranging the main parts of the story into a flow, guiding the viewer through the page while keeping everything linked to the idea that gratitude re-wires your brain. Like the video, almost every single visual flows from one to the next and uses simple metaphors to represent real-world scenarios as well and more abstract mental processes. The overall result really pulls viewers in and the two minutes is up before you even know it—but now you’ve got a much better understanding of how gratitude is good for you (and how easy it is to practice).

This project means a lot to us—we hope it can be important for you as well!