If you want an instant happiness boost, focus on gratitude.
Research in the field of positive psychology shows an active link between expressing gratitude and happiness levels.
People who practice gratitude on a regular basis experience more positive emotions, overcome adversity more quickly, build stronger relationships, and experience health benefits.
Everything doesn’t have to be perfect in your life for you to begin practicing gratitude. Even when things are stressful, intentionally picking out two or three things that you’re grateful for and seeing the good will help to lift your mood.
Here are four simple ways to begin practicing gratitude:
~ Keep a “Thankful Notebook”
Each night before you go to bed, or in the morning when you get up, jot down three specific things that you’re thankful for. This practice helps you put up your gratitude radar and programs your mind to look for the good.
~ Write a Thank You Note
Brighten someone’s day by writing a thank you note to someone who has made a difference in your life this year. By handwriting it and snail mailing it, you’re sure to surprise someone and make them happy. You’ll also get your own personal happiness boost from all of the positive emotions that are generated during the act of writing it.
~ Create a 50 Things List
If you’re feeling stuck in negativity, try this quick gratitude exercise. Set a timer for five minutes and give yourself the goal of listing at least 50 things you’re grateful for before the timer goes off. Big or small, list everything you can think of. By the time the five minutes is up, you’ll have entirely changed your attitude.
~ Say It
Make a point to say “Thank You” more as you go about your day. Shower verbal gratitude toward everyone you encounter – from the cashier at the grocery check out to your kids who are helping clean up after dinner. You’ll soon discover and appreciate just how many people do things that make your life a happier place.
Practicing gratitude takes a small amount of time, but it pays off big!