Today’s world is becoming faster and faster, people want more, buy more and it seems that there is a lack of time or effort to regularly reflect upon how good life actually is. This is a pity as research* has shown that expressing gratitude for the good things in life has an impactful contribution to subjective well-being. 

The assignment for this graduation project was to design a ritual that fits in today’s world, that is different from the common gratitude journals and apps and which stimulates people to practice gratitude in daily life. Within this graduation Iris is collaborated with Creatuals, a company with expertise on creative rituals.

After some literature research about existing rituals related to gratitude, current solutions to practice gratitude and through exploratory design, different concepts were created. The picture shows a timeline of probes that have been created in this project to test and develop different interactions.  

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The concept of a tea ritual, was chosen. Even a simple object as a paper cup, that one uses to drink tea or coffee, can stimulate people to reflect for a moment upon the (good) things in life. The cups can be used in offices, coffee houses and coffee corners of institutions, to make people more aware of all we can be grateful for.  

With the final product each cup contains a little poem sticker regarding a life topic. Twelve different topics were created, so the ritual offers variation: today you might think of how you’re grateful for nature, tomorrow you might take a cup with the topic freedom, for instance. Also, the cup consists of a turnable sleeve, that reveals one of the three assignments: Cherish a memory, Experience the moment or Pass it on. With Warm Thoughts people experience gratitude for the past, the present and make others more aware of the good things in life too.

* Lyubomirsky, S. (2010). Expressing Gratitude, from The How of Happiness. Retrieved from: http://www.gratefulness.org/readings/expressing_gratitude.htm.

Want to read more about gratitude?

I recommend this book: Gratitude works! (Emmons, R. A., 2013).