Happiness Tip #9: Show Gratitude

Teaching-Kids-to-Say-Thank-You

I think all of us can find at least one little thing in our lives we are thankful for. The majority of us can find dozens if not hundreds of things. But a lot of times we don’t look for things to be grateful for. It seems a lot easier to complain about what we don’t have than recognize what we do have. I think a lack of gratitude is responsible for the majority of bad attitudes and bad days. If we constantly acknowledged all the good in our lives we would be happy a lot more often.

It’s true. The correlation between gratitude and happiness has been researched a lot. Just google it…even Harvard has a study showing the positive correlation between gratitude and happiness.

There are a lot of ways to express and cultivate gratitude in your life. A few years ago our preacher asked us to write down a list of 10 traits we were thankful for in our spouse. Some days it’s hard to remember one thing (am I right..) but I actually keep an ever growing list on my Google Drive, so on the days when it’s hard to remember one thing I am reminded of the 51 (that’s the current count) things I know I am thankful for in Blake. It makes me happier with him and with whatever the situation is that made me recall the list.

In the video experiment below, participants were asked to write about someone in their life they are thankful for and then they called the person and read them their list. Guess what? Their happiness increased.

Being thankful is easy but also it isn’t always easy. I know, that doesn’t make sense. It’s easy to say your thankful for something or to just say “thank you” to someone but sometimes it’s hard to do in a moment of anger. It’s even harder to really think about why your thankful or express the “thank you” sentiment a little more fully (“thank you because…”) I think that’s where the magic is.

If you’re in a bad mood, start thinking about all the good in your life. Think hard about it. Make a mental list of the good things and think about why you’re thankful for them. You can take it one step further and actually express gratitude to someone who has helped you or impacted you in a positive way. The result: your mood will change, you will become happier. It’s just science.

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