How being grateful can make you happy?
B eing grateful means appreciating what you have and showing it.
Many studies demonstrate the positive effects that gratitude has on our wellbeing and happiness.
Brother David Steindl-Rast, an expert in gratitude, raises our attention about the common belief that when we are happy, then we are grateful. However, he explains that in reality, it works the other way around. If you are grateful, then you will be happy.
Appreciating what you have and expressing this appreciation to others will make you appreciate your life in general, which will give you a more positive state of mind and eventually lead to happiness.
The question is how to appreciate what we have? We often take for granted everything we have in our lives. We rarely stop and think about how privileged we are to have what we have.
The good news is that you can work on that and learn how to be grateful. Don’t forget that it’s not only about appreciation, it’s also about expressing it.
Here are some tips to be more grateful.
In his book Flourish, Martin Seligman reveals two practical exercises to help express gratitude.
- Kindness exercise:
Every day, during one week, think about a nice gesture to do for the next day: offer a gift to someone, cook lunch to your mother, surprise your grandma…
Write down how you felt after doing these acts of kindness.
This exercise will allow you to notice how being kind can contribute to your happiness and give you positive emotions.
2. What went well exercise:
Every day, before going to bed, during one week, take a few minutes to write down 3 things that went well during your day: positive experiences, a compliment, an initiative you took, a quality moment with someone you care about, a nice conversation with a stranger…
Then answer the question “why did this happen?”
This will help you identified the behaviors and actions you took that led to a positive experience and emotions. Knowing this will enable you to repeat these actions more often.
Practice these exercises every now and then to keep a positive mindset and transform gratitude into a habit.
Try it and let us know what’s the result!
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