‘If you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness.’
The simple act of feeling (!) grateful and expressing it has a strong impact on health, well-being and relationships.
A series of recent studies have found positive effects on physical and emotional health.
But………. it is not about saying or thinking the ‘thank you’ on automatic pilot. What is essential is the emotion that goes with it. A deeply felt gratitude is what will bring the benefits. Just automatically blurring out the ‘thanks’ won’t have the same effect as paying conscious attention to it and expressing it clearly.
Tips to increase your happiness through gratitude
- List daily 3 things you are grateful for and feel that gratitude inside you – the art of receiving
- If possible, translate your gratitude into an action towards someone else. Like sending a text to a friend who called you and lifted your spirits. Or when someone gives way to you in traffic, not just raise your hand but smile at them – the art of rewarding
- Think how you can create gratitude in others by offering kindness. Maybe just by duplicating what you have received towards others – the art of giving
Happiness through gratitude
The scientific gratitude hero is professor Robert Emmons (Professor of Psychology, UC Davis) who has proven in a number of studies that gratefulness inspires happiness.
One study (2010 – conducted by Robert Emmons – University of California – and Mike McCullough – University of Miami) assigned randomly participants, who were given one of three tasks. Each week, participants kept a short journal. One group briefly described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another five recorded daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or on the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the hassled group. They reported fewer health complaints and also did more exercise per week.
Gratitude creates happiness that lasts
Lots of things, from a compliment to a sugary treat, can bring little bursts of happiness. But instant gratification also goes away quickly. However, the gratitude that one feels for the compliment or the treat is not based on instant gratification, but on a frame of mind. If you regularly take time to express gratitude and thankfulness, you’re likely to see results, according to research of Emma Seppälä (Science Director, Stanford Center For Compassion And Altruism Research And Education).
My lovely mini-course to discover the magic of you and your life, pays attention to gratitude. You can read more about it