Many years ago, while going through a particularly tough time, I established a daily habit of focusing on that for which I am grateful. If I was not vigilant with my gratitude practice I found it so easy to go down the rabbit hole of ‘ain’t it awful.’
Practicing gratitude becomes a mindset and perspective through which circumstances are both experienced and interrupted. The reality is that behind closed doors none of us have perfect lives absent from challenges. When we allow ourselves to be human, feel bad and then chose to focus on gratitude we become more resilient and allow happiness to be present in our lives.
This is part 2 in the 3-part series on The Choice of Happiness by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.Gratitude is the antidote to negative emotions. Click To Tweet
If you’re unhappy today, you’ll be unhappy tomorrow—unless you’re intentional and take action.
Research shows that up to half of our happiness is genetic. We have a certain predisposition toward a level of happiness and satisfaction. But, while genetics may dictate some of our happiness quotients, each of us is responsible for 40 percent. Only 10% is determined by our circumstances.
You can improve your happiness quotient through intentional activities. As you begin to recognize and appreciate how your behaviors affect your emotional and mental states, happiness can literally become a habit.
Thus, it’s possible to remake yourself into a happier person. Happiness, more than anything, is a state of mind—a way to perceive and approach the world. When you choose activities that boost happiness, you are essentially managing your emotional well-being.
Two Essential Happiness Activities
Recent findings in happiness research reveal that our grandmothers were right all along. It’s important for us to:
When expressing gratitude, you improve positive feelings and behaviors in almost every situation. Gratitude is the antidote to negative emotions, neutralizing anger, envy, greed, worry, and anxiety. It helps to prevent us from taking things for granted.
Expressions of gratitude have been linked to mental and physical health rewards. Your ultimate goal is to turn gratitude into a habit. Start by regularly writing down gratitude statements and keeping a gratitude list on a daily basis. These two activities greatly improve your chance of focusing on gratitude becoming a habit.
It’s not enough to just think to yourself about how much you appreciate someone. Thoughts are fleeting and easily forgotten. If you wish to turn gratitude into a habit that improves your overall happiness, you need to take action. Keeping a gratitude journal and writing a few things that you are grateful for or appreciate daily is important.
Share with others what you’re grateful for. Tell them face-to-face, phone them, or write them a letter of thanks. Lasting happiness comes from the inside out and can be improved by taking action. Your behaviors reflect your inner mindset and create the positive habits of a happy person.
In my coaching, I believe it is important to focus on what is going well and to practice expressing gratitude and appreciation more often. You might be surprised at how well it works.
What’s been your experience with expressing gratitude? I’d love to hear from you; leave a comment.