“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.The other is as though everything is.” – Albert Einstein
In the past, the main focus psychology has been on conditions that contribute to dis-ease (such as anxiety and depression) and how to treat these states. There was little to no emphasis on ways to enhance the average person’s wellbeing. Positive physchology is a relatively new area of research that aims to figure out what makes people flourish. Repeatedly, it has been shown that expressing gratitude is an effective way to increase happiness.
Being grateful isn’t just about the warm and fuzzy feeling you get when reflecting upon the positives in your life (although it is a wonderful side effect). Practicing gratitude on a daily basis has been shown to influence every area of human life.
Did you know that practicing gratitude for 5 minutes everyday will increase your level of happiness by 10% – it’s as much benefit on happiness as doubling your income! Better yet, gratitude lends to consistent, long term elevated levels while the high from other happiness boosting events (such as a pay raise, winning the lottery, or a new relationship) eventually plateau as we become accustomed to this new normal.
Did you also know that gratitude benefits our physical health? People who make it a practice to count their blessings spend, on average, more time exercising, are more social, have better quality sleep, and experience less pain than people who do not.
If you need the science to back up these claims, feel good knowing there are dozens of research articles proving the many benefits of gratitude. The changes that can happen by practicing gratitude include improved health, better relationships, and increased resilience – all helping to boost overall levels of happiness.
Just like anything else that we know is good for us – the benefits come with time and the practice becomes more than just a habit – it becomes a lifestyle, an ATTITUDE. That’s how it works with gratitude.
I can say it’s definitely rubbing off on me! Since making a conscious effort to express gratitude on a daily basis, there have been several moments that I may normally not have handled so well. To be honest, I don’t remember what those situations were – I only remember that I felt calm and grounded and looked for the positive in the situation.
Still not a believer? Take the challenge! Spend 5 minutes a day writing down 2 or 3 things you are grateful for for 21 days. Notice how you start looking for things to be grateful for?
Here’s to making gratitude an attitude!