Want to Improve Your Happiness? Develop Gratitude

As a new year begins, it’s common to make resolutions. When making resolutions, many of us try to focus on changing behaviors so that our level of happiness increases. From deciding to spend more time with family, to losing weight, we all want to improve.

However, if you want to be happier this year, one little change can go a long way. Instead of being self-absorbed, consider looking outside yourself and expressing gratitude.

Gratitude can Make You Happy

It seems a little strange to think that something like being thankful can lead to greater happiness. However, gratitude can make you happy. Gratitude does a few things to help you improve your outlook:

  • Focuses your thoughts on what you already have and enjoy
  • Breeds contentment in your life
  • Encourages you to look at the positive side of things
  • Allows you to focus on something and someone beyond yourself, taking the focus off you and your problems

Studies show that grateful people are happier than those who don’t practice gratitude in their lives. There is a lot to be said about developing a positive attitude, especially since positivity contributes to your happiness, reduces stress, and can help you ward off some diseases.

Developing Gratitude

It sounds simple, but developing gratitude does take some work. Gratitude is part of an overall lifestyle. For many, especially if habits of bitterness have been ingrained, it can take real effort to turn things around and become grateful. However, if you are serious about living a happier life, gratitude is a great place to start. Here are some ideas for encouraging gratitude to take root in your life:

  • Smile
  • Say thank you
  • Write thank you notes
  • Keep a gratitude journal (list a minimum of 5 things you are grateful for each day)
  • Look for the bright side of things, even if the situation looks bad (a job loss may really be an opportunity to start your own business)
  • Help someone else
  • Consider whether you are suffering from “first world problems” and look for a little perspective

Some of the items on the above list seem pretty simple — and they are! When some does something for you, smile and say thank you. Take a few minutes to write a thank you note for gifts you receive. This is important because it’s a great way to get started and develop a habit of gratitude. If you smile as you say thank you, and work on your sincerity, you will soon feel better inside and out!

You can boost your efforts by trying to replace negative thoughts with something you are grateful for. When you begin to dwell on the unhappy thoughts you have, make an effort to replace that thought with something positive. As a negative thought forms, stop, and look around and identify something you are grateful for.

It can take some time get in the habit of feeling grateful on a regular basis. However, if you are persistent in your efforts, and remember to focus on what you are happy about in your life, and remember to thank others for the great things they do for you, it will be easier to enjoy life, and live happier.

Leave a reply