HappinessAccording to Sonja Lyubomirsky in the How of Happiness, 50% of our propensity for happiness is based on genetics, 10% on life circumstances, and 40% on intentional activity in influencing our own behavior. This means that we have the ability to be happier than what we are. Being ThankfulResearch has shown that consistently grateful people are happier, more energetic, hopeful, helpful, empathetic, spiritual, forgiving and less materialistic. They are also less likely to become depressed, anxious, lonely, envious, neurotic, or sick. The EvidenceIn a study, one group had to name five things they were grateful for every day, while another group was asked to list five hassles. Those expressing gratitude were not only happier and more optimistic, they reported fewer physical symptoms (such as headache, cough, nausea, or acne). Other studies showed that when regular gratitude was practiced, those with chronic illnesses demonstrated clinical improvement. Good results were likewise attained by severely depressed people expressing gratitude. For more surprising scientific proof read the book, Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin.Gratitude increases HappinessAccording to Dr. Lyubomirsky, gratitude:
- Promotes savoring of positive life experiences;
- Bolsters self-worth and self-esteem;
- Helps people cope with stress and trauma;
- Encourages caring acts and moral behavior;
- Helps build social bonds and strengthens relationships;
- Inhibits harmful comparisons;
- Diminishes or deters negative feelings such as anger, bitterness, and greed.
Gratitude in ActionHere are some things you could do to help develop the gratitude attitude.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Once a week write in your journal things you are thankful for that week.
- Cultivate a Gratitude Attitude. Work on being thankful for things that happen each day and expressing it.
- Set aside a certain time. We all are busy, so set aside a time to express thanks at least once a week. You can do this as a family or on your own.
- Get a Gratitude Partner. Find a friend or family member and as partners, keep each other accountable to express gratitude at least once a week.
- Make Sunday a Thanksgiving Day. Make time before dinner to express thanks every week instead on only once a year!
I hope this has been helpful to you, and may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
We’re here to help YOU!
Amy Willis MH, CTN
About the Author
Amy Willis M.H., CTN