The search for happiness may not be as elusive as we think. From spiritual leaders to scientific researchers, groups from both backgrounds seem to agree gratitude practice is one of the keys to maintaining bliss and well-being.
In 2013 David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, gave a TED Talk called “Want to Be Happy? Be Grateful”. He shared that all people have one thing in common and that is that they all want to be happy. He went on to say happiness can be achieved through the expression of gratitude, a simple practice that is often forgotten as we take things for granted in our lives.
Forbes.com lists 7 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude. To name a few, improvement of physical and psychological health, enhancement of empathy, self-esteem and better sleep.
Oprah Winfrey, a strong believer in the benefits of gratitude practice, has kept a gratitude journal for many years and firmly believes if we are thankful for what we have, we’ll end up having more.
Many people of all beliefs have come together to support the idea of gratitude practice. So if the path to happiness and health is so straightforward, why aren’t more people practicing it?
Like all life skills, it takes time to transform the habits of the mind. Negative thinking and pre-programmed beliefs easily cloud our brains, but regular gratitude exercises have shown positive effects in just a few weeks. Life coach Jane Ransom shares 3 tips on how to express gratitude:
Emote: Genuinely feel the emotion of gratitude.
Extend: Send a text, email, handwritten letter, call someone or tell them your gratitude in person.
Exercise: Practice it daily. Set a specific time(s) of the day, make a gratitude jar, or start a journal.