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Friday, April 9, 2021

Be Grateful to Be Happy

Gratitude sparks happiness and it’s one of the easiest things we can do to be more cheerful inside and out. 

Being grateful has been shown to improve mood, sleep and attitude. It doesn’t cost a thing, and anyone can learn to be more grateful in thought and deed. Even if you’re experiencing troubles, there are things you can be grateful for — and in so doing, your situation will seem more hopeful. You can express gratitude silently for something as simple as your morning cup of coffee, the bird outside your window or a comfy bed to sleep in. 

Random Acts of Kindness

Doing something nice for others without expecting anything in return can foster good feelings. Start by gifting smiles. Smiling makes us feel good, even if we have to think about doing it. Look for other opportunities. Stopping to help someone in need, buying groceries for the person ahead of you in line, creating a scholarship anonymously, sending a check to your local food bank, volunteering your time for a new cause, baking cinnamon rolls and delivering them to the neighbors: There are an endless number of small acts you can do to brighten someone else’s day. 

Small changes count. If you normally curtly dismiss the sales people who come to your door, try giving them a smile, a “No, thank you” and wishes for good luck instead. What have you lost? What have you gained? 

Anyone seeking a thoughtful page on ways to be kind would do well to check out this one.  Although written as part of the Jewish faith, it is non-denominational in its advice and a friendly roadmap for anyone seeking to be a better human.
Think about how a thoughtful comment or deed can change your whole day. A neighbor shovels your sidewalk; a stranger tells you that the top you’re wearing looks great on you; or a friend surprises you with a treat delivered to your door. These acts of kindness are powerful for the giver and receiver, and we can all learn how to do more of them. 

Daily Gratitude

There are two elements to gratitude, according to Robert Emmons, psychology professor and gratitude researcher at the University of California, Davis. 

  1. We affirm the good things we’ve received.
  2. We acknowledge the role other people play in providing our lives with goodness.

Simple, right? But it’s easy to forget to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves every day. A few simple practices can remind us to be thankful, and even give us the words to do so. By the way, guys, gratitude is not just for females. It has been shown to increase productivity and job satisfaction, and can help men with the social element many of them struggle with by forming and/or cementing attachments. Pick one or more of the following to exercise your gratitude muscle.

  • Keep a journal of gratefulness. Choose a time each day, perhaps in the morning or at bedtime, to write down all the gifts, grace and benefits you enjoy. Think of people you value, ordinary events and personal attributes that make you happy.
  • Ask yourself these questions. Thinking about your relationships with parents, friends, siblings and children, consider these questions:
    1. What have I received from ____________?
    2. What have I given to ____________?
    3. What troubles/difficulties have I caused ____________?
  • Share your gratitude with the people around you. Whether it’s your spouse, a co-worker or a friend, sharing thankfulness is proven to strengthen relationships.
  • Pledge to be more thankful. Research says that if you make a vow to do something, it’s more likely you will follow through. Write down your vow, such as “I will count my blessings every day,” and post it somewhere you will see it.
  • Expand your gratefulness vocabulary. Gratitude is about focusing on what others have done on our behalf, and what we can do for others. Grateful people use words such as blessings, fortune, gifts, blessed, fortunate, abundance and giving. 
  • Work at being grateful. By going through the motions of gratitude, you will make it a habit and become more grateful. Smile, express thanks and write emails or letters of gratitude often. 
Gratitude and kindness give meaning to life. The two go hand-in-hand. Try being more grateful for a week and see how you feel. Our bet is that you’ll be surprised what a difference it can make.