Cultivating gratitude can lead to happiness – New Thought

Cultivating gratitude can lead to happiness – New Thought

Most people just want to be happy, but they find themselves playing a game of seek-and-not-find in the outside world.

Cultivating greater happiness in our lives is not as difficult as you might think. Happiness is not dependent on external circumstances, it is an internal job.

It’s common to hear people postpone happiness until an elusive date in the future. I will be happy when… (fill in the blank.) Why wait? Start now, you deserve it.

Our happiness is important, as happy people tend to:

• be healthier

• have better relationships

• experience greater vigor and energy

• have a better sense of humor

• live longer

Not surprisingly, happiness affects both the quality and quantity of our lives.

Interestingly, environmental conditions only account for 10% of our happiness, while our genetics and personalities are 50% responsible. Still, we don’t have to be a victim of these factors. Our power is in the remaining 40%, where we are able to influence our happiness with intentional activities.

There are simple, quick and easy things we can do to increase our own levels of happiness. The answers lie within.

Several studies reveal that a surefire way to increase happiness is to first be grateful. Happiness and gratitude are a hot topic in the research world. Interestingly, several researchers have found a strong positive correlation between happiness and gratitude.

Brene Brown, researcher and author, found the relationship between joy and gratitude to be both surprising and important. She wrote, “in my 12 years of research on 11,000 pieces of data, I did not interview a person who described themselves as happy, who also did not actively practice gratitude.”

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We can rewire our brains for gratitude and happiness. When we engage in gratitude practices over time, there are lasting changes in the brain, especially in areas related to decision-making and learning. Practicing gratitude increases the production of neurochemicals and hormones that support well-being.

Our brains and bodies benefit from practicing gratitude, improving heart health, blood pressure, sleep and reducing pain. Grateful individuals have improved impulse control, and tend to be more motivated and productive. Even if we find nothing to be thankful for, just the practice of stopping to look for something to be thankful for creates a shift.

Or you can increase gratitude to improve happiness. While it is helpful to simply list what we are grateful for, thinking about why we are grateful for the items on our list will enhance the benefits we receive. Delving into the reasons why we are grateful allows the felt feeling of gratitude to be experienced by our body.

Don’t save gratitude for only the big or fancy things. I practice gratitude for some of the most basic things that are easily overlooked, such as a warm and comfortable bed to sleep in, the sunshine or new growth on the trees. Even my most challenging days are filled with reasons to be grateful, and the focus on negative thoughts diminishes when I remember to look for the good.

The use of my gratitude journal improved dramatically when I started storing it on my pillow with a pen tucked inside. Contemplating the many blessings in my life right before bed is the perfect way to enter dreamland.

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Practicing this over the years, just the sight of my journal causes a positive shift in my body and I can feel it.

Gratitude can become a family practice and is the perfect way to make our children happier. Families who stop to say something they are grateful for hack happiness for the whole family. Dinner time is the perfect opportunity. Not only does it invite more joy in the house, it helps lead to healthier conversations around the dinner table.

Another of my favorite gratitude practices is the old-fashioned thank you card. I have a stock on hand. I love sending thank you cards, all with colorful and fun stickers. I find myself constantly searching my life for reasons to send a card.

I love how it feels inside me to pay attention to my wonderful friends and family and sincerely thank them.

For me, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Short writing fills my heart and people love to receive my excited creations. In the process, my mind and body benefit greatly.

Gratitude is such a simple practice. It’s portable and it’s a proven method of increasing happiness.

This article was written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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