Gratitude – The Everyday Secret to Being Happy
It’s true. I now personally know one of the key secrets to being happy…it is focusing on what you have instead of what you don’t have. I have been celebrating Thanksgiving, the “Gratitude holiday,” early. Two weeks ago I received my second multifocal lenses implant in my left eye. Talk about gratitude. Now, I see the birds in the trees (I think I can even see their eyes.) Last night in church I could actually see people’s faces across the church. Even the couple that always holds hands. I still get excited I can see the screens on my windows. I rarely drive without tearing up as I see abundance around me.
Gratitude is defined as “wanting what you have.” Many studies show that people who practice grateful thinking are happier than those who don’t. My favorite gratitude study was done by Robert Emmons. He had three groups of people who kept journals. Group one wrote five things that occurred in the past week that they were grateful for (called the gratitude condition). The second group wrote five daily hassles (called the hassles condition). The third group wrote five events that occurred in the last week neither positive nor negative (called the events condition). At the conclusion of ten weeks, the people in the gratitude condition physically felt better with less symptoms of physical illness, fewer health complaints; they slept better and even exercised more.
About ten years ago I started a Gratitude Journal. I either start my day or end my day with writing a few things I am grateful for. I find myself looking for things to be grateful for….which I liken to looking for rainbows. Unless you are looking up for rainbows you may miss them. Plus when I look up it reminds me to say “Thank you God!”
Besides writing gratitudes I take picture gratitudes. I have had the same mailman since I moved into my home twenty four years ago. About ten years ago he came to my door to deliver a package. I told him I appreciated what he did for me and I didn’t even know his name. He got a big smile and said, “My name is Dale and it rhymes with mail.” Of course I told him. I asked him if I could take a picture of him. He asked for what? I said for my gratitude book. I gave him the extra copy and we have been even better friends since. If you really want a gratitude high, take pictures for years and years, write the date and their name on the back and go through them once in a while.
Your habits create your life. One of the best ways to grow your gratitude is to remind yourself of the special gifts in your life, including your own strengths, your accomplishments, and people, situations and things you appreciate in your life. This can change your life as you will no longer miss the beauty around you and you will no longer notice what is missing in your life. Thankfully, your brain can only focus on what thing at a time. Do you want to focus on lack or abundance? (There is a correct answer!)
Many of you know I love to celebrate birthdays and everything about them. I love to say thank you for being born and encourage my clients to do the same.
Kathy, my coaching client writes, “I took your advice and told my husband that I was very happy that he had been born and it opened up an amazing discussion. We didn’t eat dinner until 10 pm because we didn’t want to stop talking. I think we have a great relationship, but just telling him that one thing made it even better. It was a conversation that helped us understand each other better. It also cleared up some assumptions on my part. I thought he would resent the money spent coaching with you, but in actuality, he said he sees a difference in my attitude and actions and is very happy I found you. I just had to share! “ K
Most people are grateful because they’re happy. Insightful people are happy because they’re grateful. Better get busy if being happy is as easy seeing what is good and beautiful in your world.
Leave a comment below letting us know what you do with your gratitude journal and you can win a 5 Ingredients for Healthy Living Cookbook!