Positive Psychology is an academic field that studies happiness. According to positive psychologists Ken Sheldon and Sonja Lyubomirsky, there is research that says that up to 40 percent of our happiness comes from activities that we choose to action.
In the search for uncovering the secret to happiness, positive psychology keeps returning to the same concept: gratitude. In multiples studies, researchers have found that if people are purposefully engaged in trying to become more grateful, they are more likely to become happier. Gratitude is a feeling. It is an emotion we choose to have based on our willingness to appreciate the good that is around us.
Showing gratitude privately and publicly creates happiness. In my life, I have found that people who do certain things are able to experience increased levels of gratitude.
Three ways to develop gratitude:
- Journal it! Write down daily what you are thankful for. Every morning write down 10 things you are grateful for. Every night before you fall asleep write down another 10 things you are thankful for. Our words create our world. Our thoughts define our soul.
- Tell it! Each day commit to telling one person why you are thankful for them. It could be a friend, spouse, co-worker, child, taxi driver, grocery store cashier… anyone. Telling people you are thankful for them increases your awareness, and creates happiness in others. Do more than say “Thank You”. Be specific as to why you are thankful and even better write them a letter.
- Forget it! All obstacles, struggles, pain and setbacks are only as powerful as we allow them to be. Letting go of the bad, letting go of the negative – is as important as focusing on the good. Dwell only on what can help you achieve your potential and discard the rest.
Being constantly happy is not realistic or even practical. We need adversity. Our well-being is determined by the meaning we give to each situation. We can choose to feel happy based on actions we take. Pain and struggle are vital for growth and mastery. The meaning we apply to the pain is what really determines our happiness. If we can be thankful for the experiences and appreciate what is happening, we then are in control over our personal happiness. Be thankful, tell others you appreciate them, and ignore the negative.
– Mareo McCracken