Happiness, they say, is the grandest pursuit of all in life. This ephemeral, seemingly fleeting feeling, like that other emotion, Love, has been dissected, researched, pondered, and written about since time immemorial.
But perhaps its elusiveness lies in the fact that we seek it, rather than see it.
The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don’t have.
Your strongest muscle in getting happiness coursing through your veins is Gratitude.
Being grateful is a complete dimension of being. It’s saying thank you. It’s appreciating everyone in your life, despite your epic struggles with them.
Gratitude gives us a healthy perspective – both the trees and the forest, especially in times when the focus is on all the little things that may not be going according to plan. It allows us to see what we do have in our lives and see the “bad” in a whole new and empowered light. It grounds us in the now, where often there can be stress, worry or regret, see the fullness and potential of the moment.
But does gratitude really ramp up the happiness quotient?
In his book Thanks: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Professor Robert Emmons shares research showing the practice of gratitude can increase happiness levels by 25%.
Not only did research show happiness rose, but there is a strong correlation with health benefits. Gratitude may be the key to being fit and happy.
So the next important question is how. How to practice gratitude?
3 Simple Gratitude Tips
1 Keep a Gratitude Journal
Spend just a few minutes a day to jot down 5 – 10 things you are grateful for. Nothing is too trivial to be included. Really.
Professor Emmons’ 10 week study showed that those who kept a weekly gratitude journal were 25% happier, compared to those who wrote about hassles or just any event that happened in the week. The things these people wrote about? Sunset through the clouds, the chance to be alive, and the generosity of friends.
2 Say Thank You
Saying Thank You now means not only they feel good, but you feel good as well. It doesn’t matter how “small” the gesture is. The key is acknowledging that little something that a friend, or a stranger, has done.
3 Think Grateful Thoughts (even for the “bad” stuff)
Neuroscience research shows that people cannot simultaneously think of both positive and negative thoughts at the same time. So increase those endorphins and look at the positive side of a not-so-positive situation. Positive psychology experts are saying the inoculation against depression and stress may be positive thinking, empathy, and gratitude.