It was about 15 years ago when the ‘Positive Psychology’ movement began, and they discovered something very interesting and rather profound about happiness and people’s overall satisfaction with life.
The fact is that there’s always been a bunch of money spent researching what makes us unhappy – but research into what makes us happy? Not so much. Happiness is still the goal of millions.
And one thing that kept coming up, during experiment after experiment, study after study, was a feeling of gratitude. It seems that a key component of happiness is, indeed, gratitude.
And, conversely, the study found that unhappy people are overwhelmingly ungrateful.
You might be think, “That’s great – but if I want to find happiness how can I become more grateful and what do I have to be grateful about anyway?”
The answer is that you can actually become more grateful by practice. Not quite like practicing the piano but let’s take a look at two concrete ways:
- Be ‘reflexively grateful’. That’s when after a long chat to a close friend you think to yourself, “Thank god for Jane – I’m so lucky to have a friend like that.”
- Take time each day to focus on the good things in your life – “I may not have the perfect home, but I do feel safe and loved here.”
So, pretty much, gratitude is where you find it.
It sounds small and so simple, but gratitude has a massive impact on your happiness. And science backs that up.
A long term study from the University of California and the University of Miami showed participants who were actively ‘grateful’ everyday enjoyed better mental and physical health, made more progress in their personal goals, and reported a ‘higher sense of well-being’.
(That’s psychologist talk for ‘happy’.)
To help you get into the habit, there’s a wonderful hypnosis download based on this research called Get The Gratitude Attitude. Try it out today.