As we continue to start off a new year and month, happiness is often high on our list for something we want more of. This might mean starting a new hobby, spending more time with friends, traveling, buying that thing we've had our eye on, or spending less time on our phone or computer. Regardless of how we get there, contentment, a state of happiness and satisfaction, is often what we are after. However, one of the simplest and cheapest ways to get there is through a daily gratitude practice.
A daily gratitude practice could be writing down 1-3 things, people, or events you're grateful for; it could be something you simply say to yourself at some point in the day; or it could be shared with your family or friends at the dinner table. Some research even shows that a weekly gratitude makes a difference in our levels of happiness. Regardless of what your practice of gratitude looks like, what matters is your focus on the good and the positive.
We as humans are wired to remember the negative and more threatening things in our life as a matter of survival. I've read that it takes 5 positive things to outweigh 1 negative; whether that is scientifically proven or not, I think we can all agree that we tend to remember the negative comments more than the praise, the embarrassing event more than the happy one, or the scary nightmare more than the exciting dream. But with practice, the more we focus our attention on the good, the happy, and the exciting we can rewire our brain and improve our well-being. Here are a few resources that go into more detail and will remind you of the benefits of gratitude on our levels of happiness and contentment:
- Science of Gratitude Radio Special
- Gratitude is Good for Your Health
- How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain
- Gratitude is Key To Well-Being
This week I am grateful for a sunrise snowshoe in my backyard, getting to go to a job I love, and having a warm home on these cold days. What are you grateful for this week or right now?