18 Dec Fascinating Things We Learned in 2020 While Doing Research for Clients
Written by Heather Karellas
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
As a copywriter, I end up learning a lot of really cool, random stuff during the course of my work. I’ve had the pleasure of writing about all kinds of topics, including fitness, banking, local government, hip chefs, toilet technology, home repairs, beer, blacksmithing, homelessness, medical care, and so much more. It’s a genuine pleasure to be able to learn so much about so many different industries, but it can also mean falling down some pretty obscure Wikipedia holes. Here are some random facts we learned this year while doing research for a few of our clients.
Gratitude breaks the thinking patterns that keep many people unhappy and unfulfilled.
Gratitude journals are more than just a trendy habit – they can actually shift your brain patterns! “Hedonic Adaptation” is the idea that a stimulus is less effective over time. Basically, we get used to the good things in our lives. Our baseline for “normal” moves up, and we find ourselves about as happy as we were before. Order takeout once a week, and it’s a fun treat. Order takeout every night, and it becomes your expectation. Gratitude breaks the cycle of Hedonic Adaptation. When you pause to appreciate the good in your life, you realize there’s a lot to be grateful for right now. You stop seeking out new “happiness stimuli” and stop waiting for “someday.” We learned this while helping personal trainer Anthony Strayhorn create a corporate workshop on the power of gratitude. After this project, I started a gratitude journal, and I’m glad to say that gratitude comes more easily and naturally to me these days!
The life expectancy in Haiti is just 64 years, compared with 80 in the U.S.
Client: Friends of the Children of Haiti
Friends of the Children of Haiti (FOTCOH, for short) is an Illinois-based nonprofit providing medical care and hope to 15,000 Haitians each year. We connected with FOTCOH through Christina Edwards of Splendid Consulting and helped redesign and rewrite some of their print materials. During this project, we learned a lot about life in Haiti and the country’s need for quality, affordable medical care and other critical resources. The numbers are harrowing: Haitians have a 10.8x higher chance of dying before the age of 5 than Americans. 58% of Haitians exist below the poverty line, earning less than $2.42 per day. 45% of Haitians in rural areas do not have access to clean drinking water, and 42% of Haitian women give birth without a skilled birth attendant. Learning this information can lead us to draw some pretty pessimistic conclusions about humanity – but organizations like FOTCOH are working on the ground to change these statistics.
Fire Cider is a thing, and it’s delicious.
Client: The Homestead Atlanta
I’ve worked with The Homestead Atlanta for a few years now, but somehow I only learned about Fire Cider this year. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a traditional herbal remedy that’s popular the world over. We learned about it while helping The Homestead promote an event on herbal self-care at Eventide Brewing with Herbalista Free Clinic. According to Herbalista, Fire Cider typically includes garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish, and chile peppers that sit in vinegar, are strained, and then something sweet is typically added at the end. The result is a tasty, mouth-puckering, antimicrobial beverage that’s delicious in small quantities by itself or mixed with tea or sparkling water. Check out Herbalista’s Fire Cider recipe here!
Salamanders can grow up to six feet long!
Client: The Barn Group
The Barn Group is a land trust that has helped protect more than 21,000 acres across fourteen states. Their logo includes their mascot, Rocky the Salamander. As we helped The Barn Group create their brand standards guide, we delved deeper into the symbolism behind the salamander. We learned that the salamander is incredibly resilient, capable of regenerating lost limbs as well as seeing in the dark. Most of them are pretty dang cute – but some are downright deadly. The nearly six-foot-long salamander is the Chinese giant salamander, which can also reach up to 143 pounds. Bonus fun fact – click here to learn why Mr. Rogers would be pleased to hear about a 143-lb salamander!
Food waste in the U.S. is equal to 30-40% of the food supply.
This statistic is one we found on the USDA’s website while researching for StreetStop, an LA-based food truck app that aims to help reduce food waste in its industry. 43% of this food waste happens in consumers’ homes, 40% at consumer businesses (think grocery stores, restaurants, school cafeterias), 16% at farms, and 2% at manufacturing sites. Especially during the pandemic, Emma and I have been savvier about freezing our unused veggies, herbs, and bread before they go bad as well as eating perishable items before shelf-stable foods. ATL folks – check out Free99Fridge if you’re looking to get involved with helping reduce food waste and provide fresh, healthy food for others.
Students in 68 metro Atlanta schools have access to on-site mental health services.
Client: CHRIS 180
We were pleasantly surprised to learn this year that Atlanta nonprofit CHRIS 180 has been providing on-site, school-based mental health services since 2014. They work with elementary, middle, and high schools in Atlanta Public Schools as well as Clayton, DeKalb, and Fulton county schools. Some schools also receive coaching and trauma-informed care training for staff. We’ve worked on a few print material and email projects this year for CHRIS 180 and have been consistently inspired by the work they’re doing in our communities!