Did you know that happiness and gratitude go hand-in-hand? Happy people are more grateful, and folks that express gratitude tend to be happier! Research states that being thankful can boost your “happiness index” by 25%. What’s the “happiness index?” Think of a mood meter based upon your genetic disposition and early family circumstances. Whatever details influence your ability to enjoy life are involved to affect your baseline for happiness. These elements make up 40%, leaving us a large margin for improvement!
Look for the Good-
We have a “negative bias.” It’s the Neanderthal in us- that’s always on the lookout for danger. “Is that a beige rock or a sleeping lion?” We focus more on problems, looking for solutions. And we tend to take the good stuff for granted. What’s working well? What makes us happy? Positive psychology is fairly new, but it’s taking root and getting wondrous results. The Gratitude List is a great tool for retraining the mind to refocus on the good. Oprah Winfrey writes one every night! I reflect on 3 things that went well during the day. Try it for yourself. Don’t make it another chore- even once a week will improve your outlook.
Rampage of Appreciation-
This is a tool I found in a Abraham-Hicks book. Basically, you look for something in your immediate surroundings that you like. It can be a small detail, like the color of the room, or the smell of freshly baked bread, or the smile on the baby’s face in the line at the supermarket… You are training your attention muscles to explore what makes you happy, and holding the focus to bring out that inner smile. You might actually find yourself smiling. It’s a mood changer. You’ll see how noticing the small pleasant things can actually make you happier. See how long you can keep the game going. This could be a fun family event with each member offering another happy thought quickly to keeping the ball rolling. The aim is to create a “rampage” of happy thoughts. Try it…
Saying thanks never goes out of style. In fact, expressing gratitude opens the heart, makes you happier, and increases your well being. Yes, being grateful will improve your health. This stuff has been researched. Saying thanks will improve your health! I encourage hand writing one’s gratitude. Oh, those thank you notes. Putting your grateful words down on paper makes a concrete document of your appreciation. They’re special and precious since very little is hand written anymore. And that’s exactly why people save them. Like the one shown above from my visit to a second grade classroom several months back. “Morning, noon, and night” anytime is a good time to be grateful, especially today on Thanksgiving!
Gratitude- A Journal by Catherine Price. Chronicle Books LLC,2009.
Ask and it is Given- Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Ester and Jerry Hicks. Hay House, 2004.
Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment by Martin E. Seligman. Free Press,2004.