How to be Grateful not ‘Gramful’ On Your Summer Vacation

Are You Grateful like the lady below or Gramful like everyone else?

Radio Interview

As many of us prepare for our first summer vacation since the COVID-19 pandemic, a digital wellness expert recommends you take a more grateful than “gramful” approach to truly be in the present moment.  Mark Ostach, a keynote speaker who helps people find the courage to connect — both online and offline, just came back from summer vacation with his family and spent time on the beach reflecting on the difference between being grateful and what he refers to as being ‘gramful’.

“After a year like last year, I was extremely grateful to have the opportunity to spend summer vacation with my family along beautiful Lake Michigan,” said Ostach. “Being grateful is a deep rooted human emotion that requires all five senses to activate the full experience.  However, being ‘gramful’ is where we are more focused on sharing what we are grateful for as opposed to actually experiencing it.

For example, as my kids were enjoying time picking up rocks along the sandy beach, my wife and I were distracted by trying to capture the perfect photo to post on Instagram.  Our focus of taking the picture, uploading it to our stories, and finding clever words to describe what we were experiencing took away from us simply relaxing, sitting back and enjoying being in the moment with our young children.”

And the truth is, although the ‘gramful’ picture we shared appeared to capture the perfect moment, the actual moment was far from perfect!

The photo below was captured on the beach of Lake Michigan. Moments before this photo, our offline life was chalked full of high stress as our young daughter was melting down from being overly tired and I just got down yelling at my young son to not go in the lake as it was too cold.

Ostach’s lesson learned is to not to worry about taking the perfect photo with the perfect backdrop. Perfect doesn’t exist. Just be in the moment and capture the experience in the storage of your heart, not your phone.

“Don’t get me wrong, Instagram and other social media outlets are a great place to share life experiences and help create connections with people in your life. Just be aware that you aren’t all in on the “gramful” approach to your vacation as you may miss out on the benefits of rest & relaxation,” said Ostach.

“Taking a ‘Gramful’ approach is like a shallow version of gratitude,” added Ostach. “It’s fun to  play on the shallow shores of Instagram, just make sure you set your phone down and swim in the deep-end of gratitude by using all five senses to experience what is actually happening while it’s happening!   Always thinking about what to post on Instagram and other social media doesn’t create long-term memories. It just stores them in the cloud.”

Ostach offered the following social media tips for summer vacation:

  1. Take photos but then put your phone away and enjoy your vacation.
  2. Don’t sweat the technical part of posting your photo or video. Just upload it!
  3. Bring an actual camera with you! Go into your storage area and dig out that old camera you have and bring it with you.
  4. Post your pictures when you get back home from your vacation. This will allow you to stay grateful for your time and then be grateful when you post!
  5. Get your feet in the sand and your body in the water. Nature is an expression of gratitude and it’s a gift to receive it.

About Mark Ostach

Mark’s on a mission to help professionals, teams, and leaders connect with themselves, each other, and their collective purpose. A wellspring of energy and born empath, Ostach holds degrees in business, psychology, and technology with an interest in neuroscience.

Ostach’s goal is to restore energy and focus to organizations battling modern life’s non-stop pace and growing sense of disconnection. He’s done this with organizations that include Universal Studios, Detroit Pistons, Rocket Mortgage, Comerica, Detroit Regional Partnership, DTE, Consumers, Michigan Economic Development Corp (MEDC), & Honigman, LLP, Thermo Fisher Scientific, BASF, Allstate, HItachi, and others.Mark’s done 2 TED talks and has spoken to people all over the world encouraging them to embrace digital wellness practices.


For an interview request, please reach out to Donna Hondorp at or 517-449-9815