Today is the day we sow, cultivate and celebrate one of the absolute best things about being alive: happiness. Throughout this past week we’ve talked about several factors that play key roles in achieving and maintaining lifelong happiness and well-being. Those factors include taking the time to be happy, feeling the state of flow, remembering that kindness counts (HUGE!) as well as the vital matter of your personal mindset (or attitude). One final piece of our puzzle remains, and it’s almost always tied to the other four factors: gratitude.
What is gratitude, exactly?
To be brief, gratitude is an emotional expression of appreciation for what you have instead of what you
want (PsychologyToday.com). Being grateful and showing gratitude towards others is a mindset scientifically shown to improve happiness – and that same science shows us that gratitude is an active, or deliberate emotion meaning it can be cultivated and increased by just expressing it. The gratefulness you feel when someone does a kind act towards you resonates not only with you, but with the person doing the kind act and anyone watching (Lyubomirsky).
Not only can gratitude be cultivated, but the effects of a grateful mindset are long lasting. As we express more gratefulness our baseline of emotion is raised, making our lows not as low and our ‘normal’ a bit higher. The reverse is true for the opposite of gratitude: rumination. As mentioned earlier this week, rumination can create a feedback loop of negativity that only amplifies itself. Gratefulness can and does the very same thing if we allow it to. By expressing your gratefulness for what you have, you have less time to obsess over all of the imperfections of your life.
Mindsets like gratitude and rumination can be so powerful that after one year, paralyzed accident victims and lottery winners reported the same level of happiness (Brickman, Coates, Janoff-Bulman).
Let that sink in.
The Road to Happiness
While it could be argued that gratitude is just another mindset and shouldn’t be considered it’s own factor in happiness, the truth of the matter is that all the method for reaching long lasting well-being are interdependent and forever linked:
- Spend time with the right people
- Spend time on the right activities
- Remember a fun or happy experience in detail
- Expand your time by remaining present and conscious of the current moment
- Feel the flow – get lost in something you love to do, do it with passion!
- Show kindness to others – small or large, acts of kindness are good for everyone!
- Mindset matters – the way you choose to look at things, is the way you will see them!
- Cultivate gratitude – expressing gratefulness for what you have (instead of what you don’t) can have long lasting effects on your happiness, well being and even physical health.
If you walk away from these blogs with just one idea, let it be this: happiness can be a choice. It’s not always the easiest choice, but with practice, patience, kindness and gratitude, you will soon be able to rest in your choice to be happy.
And now, for laughing babies – because who doesn’t love laughing babies!?
Want to be a part of our happy journey at GCI? Curious about our beauty and wellness programs? Give us a shout – we’d love to show you around and answer any questions you may have!