Learn about the power of gratitude and its influence on our happiness
At the outset, we would like to thank you for taking out time to read this article. We are truly grateful!
Positive psychology has been blooming and proving very effective. It stresses on the power of gratitude, as being grateful to someone can increase our happiness manifolds. At this time of the year, people are gearing up to thank friends and family, making thank you notes and indulging in acknowledging little things that matter.
On Thanksgiving Day, families gather around the table, hold hands, share their gratitude before carving the turkey, and indulge in the eating stupor. Being grateful should not be limited to Thanksgiving or the festive season; it should be a year round experience. Here we explain how you can do that and exactly how can gratitude bring happiness in your lives.
1 The gratitude journal
Have you ever wondered what a gratitude journal was all about? The power of gratitude on a person’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being is immense. By keeping a gratitude journal, you are reminding yourself about all the little things to be thankful about and develop a positive attitude towards life.
Gratitude journal is nothing but journaling all the things you are grateful for, for that day in written words. This is a routine for every single day, and these entries could be about anything. It does not matter what you are grateful for, it could be the hot water for your shower or a bagel, or you might feel grateful about being able to write the journal or anything else.
Therese Borchard, the writer of “Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes” suffered from depression and what helped her was keeping the gratitude journal. She learnt this from her great aunt, “I learned from her about forcing gratitude into my life. Some people have an easier time with it. People like me have to try extra hard to see the cup as half full”, she said.
2 The power of gratitude and positive psychology
According to Robert Emmons, (often referred to as a “gratitude doctor”), who has been researching the power of gratitude for more than 14 years said, “the benefits from counting blessings are tangible, emotionally and physically.” He explains further that people tend to be 25% happier and energetic when they keep gratitude journals. They show 20% less envy and resentment. They also sleep 10% longer and wake up 15% more refreshed. They exercise 33% more and show a drop of 10% in blood pressure compared to those who don’t keep these journals.
3 Does happiness come with genes?
Yes, you read that correctly. Happiness is determined by our genes to some extent and that is the reason why some people are happier than others. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at University of California, Riverside, who wrote ‘The How of Happiness’ researched on the same. She has said that genes are responsible for one part of happiness and life circumstances determine the other. We have to work on the other part; this could be by keeping a journal or any other way. She further said, “this part takes work, just like any other goal in your life” and we must be consciously aware of it every single day and not just one day in a year.
4 How to inculcate power of gratitude?
The power of gratitude doesn’t just mean being thankful for something and writing it down. It includes acknowledging the person you are grateful to and inculcating generosity into our daily lives. Generosity does not mean money; it could even mean few kind words to someone in need.
Debbie Macomber, author of the famous book ‘One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity’, explains that little things bring more joy to the giver than the recipient. He says, “Smiling at a stranger, opening a door, taking a cart back to the store, you’ll feel better making a contribution to life no matter how small.”
To experience happiness every day, do not underestimate the power of gratitude and try to embrace it. Bring generosity and consideration into daily activities and witness the change in how you feel. Do not forget that everything requires work, and everything includes happiness too.