This Daily Practice Will Make You Happier Today

Day 27 of 31 Days of Action

Resilience is so important when it comes to building a happy life. So much is beyond our control that we need resilience to bounce back from adversity and find happiness in our hearts even during tough times. A great way to build resilience is by using gratitude. Action for Happiness’ tip for today is about this very idea.

Day 27: Write down 3 things you’re grateful for (even if today was hard)

Gratitude is one of the keys to feeling happy. It’s hard to feel angry, sad, or lonely when you have gratitude in your heart. Today’s tip is a practice I have been doing for 1,000 days in a row now. I keep a gratitude journal by my bed and write 3 things down at the end of every day. No matter what kind of day I have had, this practice forces me to come up with three things that make me feel good.

It’s a simple practice that doesn’t take more than a few minutes. But what I find is that if I take the time to really feel the gratitude it has the effect of shifting my mood even if it’s just incrementally. The practice itself has become a habit, but cultivating the feeling takes intention. I make a point to notice where in my body I feel the gratitude and spend a few moments focusing on how that feels.

Even science is backing up the idea that gratitude leads to happier lives. A study done by Robert A. Emmons, Ph. D. at UC Davis concluded that a group that kept a gratitude journal for 10 weeks reported being 25% happier than the group that did not keep the journal. According to this Huffington Post article the gratitude group,

“…reported fewer health complaints, and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more.”

And in another study conducted by Dr. Emmons, people were asked to write every day about things they were grateful for. This is what they found:

Participants in the gratitude group [also] reported offering others more emotional support or help with a personal problem, indicating that the gratitude exercise increased their goodwill towards others, or more technically, their “pro-social” motivation.

Even more studies have shown that gratitude is inversely correlated to depression, as reported in the same Huffington Post article. People with clinical depression have shown lower levels of gratitude than people without depression.

Whether or not it is backed by science, gratitude just feels good. And feeling good contributes to your overall happiness. So start your gratitude practice today. Get my favorite gratitude journal below.

Debby Germino is a freelance tv/film editor who enjoys writing about mindfulness, health, and anything else that makes life happier. She writes a bi-weekly newsletter and is open to comments and suggestions on any of these topics.

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