The Thanksgiving Holiday season is always a good time to meditate on your blessings. It is human nature to focus on the negative things which tends to promote a more negative perspective. The negative perspective creates bad habits, and then we have what we call a downward spiral of negativity my friends. Yikes! I am SOO not about that life. I am a huge advocate of expressing gratitude as a means to boost my happiness on a daily basis. Let’s be clear, having a happier life doesn’t mean having a perfect life. I believe perfection is one of the biggest misconceptions on happiness. A happier life to me simply means creating healthier habits that allow you to flourish in your current life – regardless of your career, relationship status, or financial situation.
Through research studies, Positive Psychologists have proven that the expression of gratitude is one of the most effective ways to promote higher levels of satisfaction in one’s life. One of my favorite Happiness researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky explains in more detail why Gratitude matters in her book, The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want. Since I know you all are like me (members of the – give me the cliff notes tribe), I’ve pulled out a few of those scientifically proven reasons for why Gratitude is important in contributing to your overall life satisfaction.
Here are 5 Reasons why an “Attitude of Gratitude” is a must for Happier Living:
Reason #1: Promotes the savoring of positive life experiences. Even small moments matter. You maximize your satisfaction and enjoyment in life by relishing and taking pleasure in your current life experiences.
Reason #2: Strengthens self-worth and self-esteem. Acknowledging what you’ve accomplished AND what your friends and family have done for you increases confidence in yourself as well as helps you to value the people around you.
Reason #3: Supports coping with stress and trauma. It’s definitely challenging to see the blessings in life when faced with personal adversity, but using gratitude as an adaptive coping method can help you adjust, move on, and start fresh.
Reason #4: Disrupts the comparison bug. Expressing gratitude helps you to overcome comparing your life to others. Being occupied and genuinely thankful for what you have helps you to focus less on what Joseph, Tom and Kanye have.
Reason #5: Deters negative emotions. The practice of gratitude is incompatible with negative emotion and helps to decrease emotions such as bitterness, greed, anger, and jealousy. It’s much harder to feel resentful when you’re feeling grateful.
P.S. If you’re saying to yourself, I really could use this in my life, but how do I realistically add it to my day? No worries! I’ve created a part 2 of this blog series where I’m going to reveal to you one of my secret weapons for sustainable happiness or as I like to call them my “Weapons of Mass Happiness.”
Until next time.. let your happiness be your guide.
your Resident Happiness Curator,
**Note: Sonja Lyubomirsky is a Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She is the Author of the book, The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want which was released in 2008. This is an AMAZING book from where you can read more about her research on gratitude as it pertains to happiness.
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