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Why Gratitude Matters: Editor's End of Year Letter

Editor-in-Chief, Francesca 'Ceskie' Rijks gives thanks to all those who helped make the Berklee Groove relaunch possible in 2019.

Girl with Micro Braids

DECEMBER 31, 2019

Gratitude. It may be a buzz word today, but its roots lie in the foundations of most religions. For millennia, giving thanks has lain at the heart of prayers, moral codes and a part of discovering ‘supreme joy’. Now science has proven that gratitude has profound benefits not only to our mental and physical health, but it also helps us develop relationships, achieve success and live life happier. And it takes less than five minutes a day.


When we acknowledge that which is good in our lives, we focus on the positive. This shifts our bodies from the fight or flight state, reducing adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormones) and increasing dopamine, oxytocin and endorphin levels. This means increased feelings of satisfaction, pleasure and happiness.


Expressing gratitude, or even just thinking grateful thoughts, helps you enjoy good experiences, feel happier, improve your health, build stronger relationships and it helps you bounce back from adversity. It also helps you improve your focus and have more energy.

So, how should you do it?


Keep a gratitude journal: every day, write down three things for which you are grateful. These could be the mundane - gratitude for living in a warm apartment, feeling grateful for the support of family, gratitude for feeling well – or specific, like being grateful for someone’s actions or gratitude for success you’ve achieved.


And the effects are long lasting. Studies have shown that people who wrote gratitude letters or kept gratitude journals for four weeks had better mental wellbeing for twelve weeks after they stopped their writing.

Write a thank you note: When I was a kid, my mum insisted I wrote thank you notes for every gift I was given and every time I went over to someone’s house to play. (A bit extreme perhaps, and certainly very British!) Expressing your appreciation of someone’s impact on your life is profound, not just for yourself but for them too. Try to send at least one gratitude letter a month. And every so often, remember to write one to yourself, too.

Thank someone mentally: Yup, you don’t even need to write it down (although it’s more effective if you do) and you don’t need to say it out aloud. Just thinking about the kind things someone has done towards you has benefits.

Watch some of those ubiquitous social media videos on cute puppies or kittens: No, they’re not a waste of time! They lift your mood. A Japanese researcher found that people who looked at puppies and panda videos felt better and had increased productivity.

Meditate: Focus on what you’re grateful for. It can be the feeling of the warmth of the sun or a sound that you particularly love.


And in a similar fashion, I’d like to give thanks to everyone who helped make the recent Berklee Groove relaunch possible.


I’ve had the awesome opportunity to interview:

Easy Life, Sam Feldt, Lucas & Steve, Punctual, Loud Luxury, Martijn Van Daalen from ID&T, Christian French, Mary Lambert, Julia Michaels, Donovan Woods, Andrew Combs, KSHMR, Liz Duvall, Taking Back Sunday, Berklee Alumni Thiago Vitori, Julia Gartha, LEW, Oliva Barton; Ziggy Alberts, Sol Rising, Berklee’s Jessie J Ensemble, PHI NIX, Nicky Elizabeth, Cassine, SKIY, to name a few.


I’ve had the opportunity to attend incredible concerts, and sit in the best seats (or be in the photographer’s pit, at the front of the stage) and study the greats:

KT Tunstall; Julia Michaels; Cigarettes After Sex; Gampel Openair - Kygo; Mysterylands - Martin Garrix, ; Boston Calling - Great van fleet, Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals, Tame Impala, Christine and the Queens, Brandi Carlile, The Chainsmokers; Wanderlust: Ziggy Alberts; Alice Merton; KSHMR; Loud Luxury; Bastille; Iron & Wine and Calexico; Hozier; J.S Ondara; The Kiss 108 Jingle Ball, featuring Charlie Puth, Niall Horan, 5SOS and Why Don’t We; Kim Petras; Dennis Lloyd, Tegan & Sara; Alex & Jonsi, Goldroom, ANNA.


Through Stefanie Henning’s guidance, I’ve had the opportunity to work with developers at the web development platform Wix: Rafal Zacharevič, Julius Šeškevičius, Maya Ekron, Ohad Bolotin - and focus on ‘content, content, content’. Similarly she’s connected me with Berklee’s Career Center, and Berklee’s Communication team, who I’ve also been incredibly fortunate to work with in developing the website and content.


My Mum for writing, editing, helping me design and manage every step of the process, and listening to me try and scrap ideas for hours on end. My Dad for supporting us both and helping me figure out workflow processes.


To Isabella Ramos for sitting with me for hours in our dungeon of an office, figuring out our social media and team management processes, and for being such an awesome, efficient and determined partner in crime!


To Kirsten Roussel for reliably churning out 3 amazing articles a week, and the rest of the writing team for bearing with me figuring out how to sail the ship, and being so adaptable, enthusiastic and professional throughout.


To Alex Kawasaki for taking our professional profile pictures, and to Ben Pu for being the guy to call to shoot all our professional concert and merchandise photos.


To the Center for Campus Life leader Megan Hart-Molloy for being such an incredible advisor and supporting of all my crazy ambitions.


To Berklee’s President Roger Brown and his team in supporting the relaunch and rebranding.


To Down Under School of Yoga and Ayurveda and Louie DePasquale for setting up a much needed partnership to share the incredible community and practice that has supported me throughout my time in Boston, with more people at Berklee.


To Stars Merchandise for collaborating on crafting custom printed merchandise.


To Berklee for providing us with a budget to grow the team and workflow, redesign the logo, and establish a new Berklee student brand, embodying the Berklee motto - ‘To be, not be seen to be’ and help our peers ‘Get in the groove’.


To previous Editor-in-Chief Dom Jones for entrusting me with the opportunity to take over leadership of Berklee Groove in May 2019.


To my roomie Viraj Bahri for being such a support and awesome initial model of the merchandise, and Simone Franklen for helping spread the word through sharing our stickers, and Jason Ji for all his support and humour.


Wishing you all a very happy new year, and may this decade be the decade you’ve always dreamed of living. Cheers to the small steps, because I believe choosing progress over perfection ultimately leads to many a mountain climbed.


Let’s GET IN THE GROOVE!!


Ceskie

Berklee Groove Logo on Letter

CREDIT TO: NEXA DESIGN STUDIO

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