Thank you for all your comments about my last blog, “Are you Happy?”, which generated a lot of interest and engagement. I think it is because although people may think that happiness is elusive, it actually is not. Happiness is a choice. A big percentage of our own happiness level is under our control.
For the next coming series, I thought it would be a good idea to dive deeper on the things that can cultivate our own personal happiness. Let’s start with Gratitude.
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have done much of the research on gratitude. In one study, they had 3 groups: one that wrote about things they were grateful for that occurred during the week. The second group wrote about things that displeased them, and the third group wrote about events (positive or negative) that affected them. After 10 weeks, the first group that wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. They also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians, compared to the other 2 groups.
Saying "thank you" more often is a path to happiness.
Easy thanks, hard thanks
What should we be grateful for? There are “easy” things to be grateful for: pleasant events in our day, the support from our family and friends, the comfort of our homes and our lives. We definitely should be grateful for these because the appreciation of these pleasant memories provide an automatic feeling of well-being.
How about the things that went wrong or things that we did not expect to happen? Should we be grateful for these? The answer is Yes. Think of past events in your life that went wrong. Think of how you’ve survived them, what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown. These moments create the opportunities for personal reflection, which turn into wisdom.
Daily practice is key. Here are 3 simple ways to practice gratitude:
Say “thank you” more often. Add a smile.
Before you go to bed, write at least 3 things you are grateful for. Include both easy and hard things. Find the good in what is hard.
Practice daily mindful awareness either through meditation and/or yoga. A less cluttered mind is a more peaceful mind and that in itself, generates well-being and happiness.
What has your experience been?
With a lot of gratitude, I thank you for your time!