5 Ways Gratitude Can Make You Happier
Gratitude Isn’t Just Another Trend
If you’ve ever dismissed gratitude as just another trend that will be forgotten, I want to encourage you to think twice…
As we’ve talked about in a previous post, gratitude can have important benefits for our emotional and physical health.
But did you also know that gratitude can help to make you happier?
(That’s amazing, right?!)
Your Happiness Matters More Than You Think
When we published our first post on happiness, we were surprised by the responses we received…
Seriously, we had no idea the post would touch such a deep chord with some of you.
And it’s such an important topic that I want to say this loud and clear — your happiness matters!
In fact, it affects every single area of your life — including all of your relationships — so we wanted to write another post looking at a different aspect of happiness. Hopefully, this will help you to peel the onion one more layer so you can understand a little more how to cultivate a life of happiness.
Because here’s the secret — happiness is a choice.
The Connection Between Gratitude And Happiness
Now, you might be wondering… if we’re talking about happiness then why are we returning to gratitude?
Quite simply, I believe that gratitude has a powerful connection to our happiness. I’ve found in my own life that the more I practice gratitude, the happier I’m becoming as a wife, mom, nana business owner, and so on.
I’ve shared the story before how I was grumbling a lot about my husband at a low point in our marriage so I decided to write a list of all the things I was thankful for about Melis.
Thing is, I was so unhappy that I grabbed the smallest piece of paper I could find… a pink sticky note.
However, after I got started, I surprised myself by covering both sides of the paper with lots of things I appreciated about my husband.
And I’ve kept that paper to remind myself that my attitude is a choice and the attitude I choose each day will either contribute to my happiness or take away from it.
So, here are five ways that gratitude can help you to become a happier person.
#1. Gratitude Helps Us Appreciate The Blessings Around Us
Being grateful “promotes the savoring of positive life experiences” as Sonja Lyubomirsky puts it.
For myself, I find that practicing gratitude encourages me to look for moments to be thankful for.
It’s so easy to get caught up in being busy or with the mundane activities of our lives and to take the blessings we have for granted.
So taking a moment to be grateful helps us to slow down and make the most of the time we have with our loved ones.
The other thing is, looking for things to be thankful for trains our brains to be more positive instead of looking at the things that are bothering us. And this can help us to feel happier about our lives!
#2. Gratitude Causes Us To Relax And Be Less Stressed
This one is really neat because I hear from lots of women that they feel overwhelmed and stressed.
Kaia Roman explains, “Optimistic thoughts calm and soothe the amygdala, the part of the brain that sounds the stress alarm.”
So often, women don’t have time for a long list of strategies to de-stress because they simply don’t have time.
Isn’t it amazing that practicing gratitude for even a few minutes each day can help us to relax and be less stressed?
Next time, when you feel stressed, take a deep breath and think of three things you’re thankful for. Try practicing this regularly until it becomes a habit and over time you’ll rewire your brain to be happier.
#3. Gratitude Strengthens Your Relationships With Friends, Family And Co-workers
Who doesn’t like to feel appreciated??
But it’s so easy to forget to let the people we care about the most know that we love them.
A number of years ago, I found that my husband didn’t know that I valued and appreciated him. I was shocked!
But then I realized that although I felt grateful for him, I wasn’t very good at saying it out loud to him.
So I became more intentional about letting him know specifically about what I appreciated about him and that helped us to feel more connected.
The same thing applies to friends or co-workers. Find ways to let your friends know you value them and when you’re working on a project with colleagues, be sure to give credit to them for their hard work.
#4. Gratitude Causes Us To Become More Others Focused And Less Selfish
Let’s face it, we can all be self-focused at times about all the things we don’t have and what’s wrong with our lives… I know I can.
But when we change our focus to being thankful for what we have and who we have in our lives, then we become more outward focused.
“This is because the very nature of gratitude is to focus on others,” according to this blogger.
Instead of thinking about what we want or what we don’t have, we can focus more on adding value to others.
#5. Gratitude Helps You To Develop A Better Sense Of Well-Being
“Giving thanks is not only rewarding intrinsically, but it also helps us feel better about what we have,” says Melissa Chu.
It’s all about our focus.
When we focus on all the have-nots, we generate negative feelings but when we focus on what we do have, we generate positive feelings.
And the more we practice gratitude, the more we continue to create positive feelings.
Start Cultivating Gratitude (And Happiness) Today
The bottom line is that if you want to be happier, then it begins by making the choice to practice being happy.
A lot of people don’t realize until too late that happiness is actually a choice…
Bonnie Ware points this out in her book The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying.
I want to encourage you not to make that mistake.
And one small step you can take toward more happiness is by cultivating a spirit of gratitude.
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Has gratitude helped you to become a happier person? Share your stories in the comments below!
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