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Happiness is so important it is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. But it can seem elusive at times. According to several studies, one key to happiness is gratitude.
It can be work to be thankful when things aren’t going your way. But if you’re alive, there are reasons to be grateful. Here are some ideas to bring gratitude and happiness into your life.
Create a Gratitude Journal
Start with a blank notebook and each evening before bed write down one (or five) things for which you are thankful. By having to focus on appreciating the moments or things in your life you’ll become more appreciative.
Every once in while read back on past entries and it’ll make you happiness just seeing all the good things in your life.
Pay it Forward
Remember the commercial where one good deed by a person is noticed by another who turns around and does something nice for a third person? That’s the concept of paying it forward. Maybe you won’t know how your actions affect others but going out of your way feels nice.
It can be something as small as paying for the coffee of the person in line behind you at Starbucks. Of course, if you’re Bill Gates it could be working to eradicate smallpox in the world. The point is that you’re giving to someone else with no expectation of payback. It feels good to help others.
Say Thank You
Two words can make such a big difference. Thanking people for their time, service and deeds does two things. It makes you stand out because not enough people show appreciation these days.
It also brings it home that you should be grateful for that person. Take the time to write thank you notes or letters regularly. The daughter of one of my co-workers sells a lot of Girl Scout cookies at our office every year. I was blown away when she wrote thank you notes for every customer and kept it on my desk for months.
Complaining about the little things in life encourages discontent and unhappiness. I first became intrigued with the concept of eradicating reducing complaining when hearing about a book titled “A Complaint Free World” and the 21 day challenge on Oprah.
I’m a complainer and focusing on gratitude helps me cut back and realize I really don’t have much to complain about in life.
Increase your personal happiness by showing gratitude with these ideas or others. If you have an iPhone there’s even an app for that, aptly named “Gratitude and Happiness”. What actions do you take to show gratitude?
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