3 Ways to Practice Gratitude & Increase Your Happiness
Life can be really beautiful.
Sometimes life hands you lemons, big fat sour lemons. Sh*tty things happen to good people all the time but its goes as the age old saying, start making lemonade. How we see things can really have an impact on how we deal with life. If we have a glimmer of insight or hope that things can be better, practising gratitude can have a really profound effect on life.
Before we start to explore what that actually means, and because we love research, let’s have a look at what the University of California found in correlation to people who practice daily gratitude. Some of the findings report more happiness, lower blood pressure, a willingness to do more for others, and lessened feelings of loneliness. Dr Emmon, Professor of Psychology, has been researching gratitude for the past 15 years and believes that gratitude has the power to energise, heal and to change lives. To add to that, happiness expert Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky says that practicing gratitude has proven to be one of the most reliable methods for increasing happiness and life satisfaction; it also boosts feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure and other positive emotions. If you are interested in looking at their research on gratitude you can find it here http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/expandinggratitude
A lot of stress that we face in life could be because we are not satisfied with what’s happening in our lives, and often things don’t go our way. The disappointments and frustrations can keep us disgruntled and rob us of our health and happiness, mentally, physically and spiritually. By taking her own life as an example, The Gratitude Project Founder, Angela Simson, illustrates the obstacles she faced in work and personal life due to “debilitating migraines”, and how she brought back balance and motivation and joy by changing the way she lived her life by living consciously and experiencing everything in a grateful and nourishing manner. Angela illustrates how she realized that happiness can be found within the precincts of her own-self, contrary to her previous thought that it had to be found externally. More about The Gratitude Project here http://www.the-gratitude-project.com/#!about-me/c1gbq
As Angela says, we need to experience everything in a grateful way, so how do we do that?
- Keep a journal
Write it down daily, what are you grateful for? Could be anything from having food on the table to a new job promotion. Feeling down? Is life really hard right now? Gratitude is not just for the good times. It also serves as a powerful practice that can rid negative energy and help us move out of a dark place.
The simple act of daily journalling creates a virtuous cycle. It fosters joy, and makes us feel good inside.
- Give back
This could be as simple as volunteering, random acts of kindness or if you are extra time poor, financial contributions. We love The Wake Up Project’s Kindness Cards where you can pay it forward with anonymous acts of kindness, making the world a little kinder. From a bunch of flowers, to a cup of coffee, you can leave your Kind Card with your act of kindness which in turn creates a flow on ripple effect. You can find out more about Wake Up Projects Kindness Revolution here http://wakeupproject.com.au/
- Spread Love
Having strong social bonds is probably the most meaningful contributor to happiness. The possession of friendships is essential to our well-being. When was the last time you told someone close to you what they mean to you? The Love Letter Library have created a wonderful concept called the Gypsy Journal where you can open your heart and write a letter to using the pages of the journal, it is then passed on by the receiver to another recipient, and keeps getting forwarded on until its reached its final page which then the journal is mailed back to the Love Letter Library where all the letters are made into a book allowing you to see how far your words have gone and how many hearts your words have touched. You can find out more here – http://www.theloveletterlibrary.com/
Obviously there are lots more ways in which you can express gratitude, but our little list is just a taster to get you started in your interested increasing your happiness and boosting your feels!