An Attitude of Gratitude Can Improve Your Happiness
If you have you ever wondered why a co-worker is always happy, chances are the co-worker is a positive person who is naturally grateful. Recent research has determined that people who are naturally positive are also naturally grateful for everything in life. If you are not a naturally happy person, however, you can improve your happiness. By practicing gratitude, you can improve your mood and elevate your happiness.
According to researchers Robert A. Emmons from the University of California and Michael E. McCullough from the University of Miami, an attitude of gratitude is beneficial to the health and emotional well-being of individuals. Experiments prove the following:
* “In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).” (http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/labs/emmons/)
* People who keep gratitude journals also show more progress in reaching goals.
* Young adults who practiced gratitude were more alert, enthusiastic, determined, energetic and attentive than they were prior to the experiment.
* Participants were more helpful after maintaining a gratitude journal.
* “In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one’s life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to a control group.” (http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/labs/emmons/)
* “Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008).” (http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/labs/emmons/)
Personal Application: The Gratitude Journal
Researchers find an attitude journal is a great, concrete form of daily gratitude. A gratitude journal is simple to maintain: minimally, write five thankful thoughts in your journal per day, preferably in the morning. Setting a thankful feeling in the morning can influence you to be more thankful and happier throughout the day.
A journal is also a great tool to review if you are having trouble being grateful. Any day you are having trouble thinking of things to be grateful for, look through your journal. A lot of the gratitude in your journal is applicable every day, and it is helpful to review everything for which you were grateful in the past as a tool to influence your gratitude on those not so gracious days.
Another tool to stay motivated and happy is a mental gratitude journal. If you are feeling stressed at work, taking a moment to mentally jot down five things you are grateful for can increase your mood and your productivity.
At Divorce Detox, we believe gratitude is a simple tool available to improve your happiness. Just practicing an attitude of gratitude throughout that day can improve your health and emotional well-being. Especially in trying times like separation and divorce, establishing a gratitude journal may help you surpass negativity within the situation and embrace the positive.
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