With Thanksgiving upon us, I wanted to share a straightforward concept that can improve your happiness quotient. I know it does mine.
This is the idea of developing the skill to pause and show where you can find gratitude for what you have going on in your life, now, by writing it down!
Bully, you say? Who has time to do that? You don’t have my crazy life!
No matter how significant the difficulties are in your life, you still have a lot of great and beautiful things going on in your life concurrent with these challenges. You just might not recognize them because you’re not trained to see them.
According to U.C. Davis Psychologist Robert Emmons, and author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, becoming aware of “things to be grateful for” is a habit you can develop quickly and easily. Just start writing down “Five things you are grateful for” every day.
According to Emmons, then, you’ll develop a “gratitude mindset” muscle. The more you work at it, the stronger it will become.
Emmons found that people who do this, after just three weeks, report being significantly happier in their life. Because they are now looking for them, people become much keener at spotting gratitude opportunities.
More significant, is when you look at the larger goal of being happy or feeling satisfied in life, gratitude plays an integral part in achieving both according to leaders who study this. Gratitude is like rocket fuel for driving the behaviors that produce long-term happiness, satisfaction, and well-being.
More on that some other time.
What is interesting about Emmon’s study is the only thing required to bring more happiness into one’s life is changing the person’s perception. You don’t need a new job, better family or other “stuff” to make you happier. You just need a slight recalibration on how you view the world. Best of all, you can start immediately.
As they say, change your perception, change your world.
So with Thanksgiving around the corner perhaps now is a good time to try this practice and pause, look around, and see all that is around you to be grateful for. You’ll be surprised how much there is.
Then, jot them down. In a couple of weeks, you’ll surprise yourself with a list of hundreds of things specific to you to be grateful for. Things that you never paid attention to. And, you’ll be happier.
In case you don’t know it, the world loves happy people. I know I do.