For years, Deepak Chopra, Oprah and even the venerable publication, Psychology Today, have been trumpeting the power of gratitude to lift our spirits. And now, neuroscience research is proving that it’s true. To be happier, bask in gratitude as often as possible.
It’s easy to say we feel gratitude – for a healthy family, a roof overhead, good food – but the power of gratitude isn’t in speaking about it, but feeling it. And in order for your feelings of gratitude to really make you happier, you need to make a conscious practice of feeling grateful.
The way to do that is to live in the moment as much as possible, and find a way to appreciate even the least-happy experiences. Living in the moment means to not let the chatter inside your head focus on something in the past or future. This is tougher than it sounds – the brain is constantly chewing things over, replaying events from the past or imagining things that could happen in the future. The trick to being in the moment is to catch your brain taking one of these trips and stop it. Simple, yes, but not easy. It will take concentration to master this, but it’s so worth it!
Let’s look at an example of how you can find things to appreciate, even in a seemingly negative situation. Coming down with a cold just before leaving on a much-anticipated trip? There’s not a lot there to be grateful for, but if you think about it, you can find a lot of happiness.
- The drug store has potions that will help me feel better.
- I won’t have to work or use precious sick leave.
- I will be distracted from the sniffling and sore throat by the change of scenery.
- I won’t have to cook and clean while on vacation.
- If I don’t feel like doing anything, I don’t have to.
The more you look at something that appears to be a negative in your life, the more positive aspects to it you can find, if you look with a grateful heart.
Gratitude is the essence of happiness, and practicing gratitude WILL make you happier. Now, go have a happier day – remember, you’re in charge!
I’d love to hear how you celebrate life through gratitude each day – please contact me here or on my Facebook page and share your wisdom. And if you’d like a happiness quick tip to show up in your “in” box to start each week off right, sign up and it’s yours. Just scroll to the bottom of any page on my website – the sign-up form is in the footer. Have a happier day!