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The Gratitude - Happiness Connection

Posted on April 13, 2015 at 8:15 PM

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, appreciating the people in your life, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle.Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present.In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.

Discover how you can bring more gratitude, and therefore happiness, into your life.

Gratitude and Happiness: How Being Grateful Can Have a Huge Positive Impact On Your Life...

Gratitude Tip #1

An exercise you can try is to write a gratitude letter to a person who has exerted a positive influence in your life but whom you have not properly thanked. Some experts suggest that you set up a meeting with this person and read the letter to them face to face.

Scientific Research on the Effects of Gratitude on Happiness

Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis has been studying gratitude for almost ten years and is considered by many to be the world's leading authority on gratitude. He's the author of the book, "Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier".

 

The information in this book is based on research involving thousands of people conducted by a number of different researchers around the world. One of the things these studies show is that practicing gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25%. This is significant, among other things, because just as there's a certain weight that feels natural to your body and which your body strives to maintain, your basic level of happiness is set at a predetermined point.

 

If something bad happens to you during the day, your happiness can drop momentarily, but then it returns to its natural set-point. Likewise, if something positive happens to you, your level of happiness rises, and then it returns once again to your "happiness set-point". A practice of gratitude raises your "happiness set-point" so you can remain at a higher level of happiness regardless of outside circumstances.

 

In addition, Dr. Emmons' research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don't practice gratitude. He further points out that "To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings."

Gratitude Quote: Gratitude is an art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture. ~Kak Sri

Imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one.

Gratitude Tip #2

Start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements-such as getting the promotion, having a comfortable nest egg saved up, getting married, having the baby, and so on-before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy.

The Study

Dr. Emmons and Dr. Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, conducted an experiment on gratitude and its impact on well-being. The study split several hundred people into three different groups and all of the participants were asked to keep daily diaries.

 

The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day without being told specifically to write about either good or bad things; the second group was told to record their unpleasant experiences; and the last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful.

 

The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy. In addition, those in the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress, were more likely to help others, exercised more regularly, and made greater progress toward achieving personal goals.

Create a Gratitude Charm Bracelet

Your gratitude bracelet can have one meaningful charm or different charms representing the things you're most grateful for.

 

For example, you could have a charm shaped like a heart to symbolize your significant other, figurines to represent different family members, an apple to represent health, a dollar sign to symbolize abundance, a charm that represents your current profession or a future career, and maybe a charm that makes you laugh to represent humor and joy.

Gratitude Tip #3

Use gratitude to help you put things in their proper perspective. In the face of adversity ask yourself: "What's good about this?", "What can I learn from this?", and "How can I benefit from this?"

Keep a Gratitude Journal

Each day write down at least five things for which you are thankful. Remain mindful while completing this exercise, don't just rush throughout it absent-mindedly. You can remain mindful by visualizing or re-experiencing the situations you're giving thanks for.

Do A Gratitude Dance:-)

Gratitude Tip #4

Take a gratitude stroll. Go for a walk and see how many positive things you can find: a mother walking her baby, the smells coming from the bistro, a shop with a beautiful dress in the window, flowers growing on a window sill .. .

. . . the natural principle that action and reaction are always equal and in opposite directions. The grateful outreaching of your mind in thankful praise to supreme intelligence is a liberation or expenditure of force. It cannot fail to reach that to which it is addressed, and the reaction is an instantaneous movement toward you."

 

 

 

 

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