How To Create Lasting Happiness

The Power of Gratitude

Do you know what two of THE most powerful words in the English language are? Thank you. Yes, thank you. Do you know why? Because when you are genuine in saying “thank you”, you unlock a powerful thing…gratitude. When people feel that gratitude, they feel blessed. And is there any greater feeling in the world?

The incredible thing about this is that we ALL have the ability to unlock this amazing power! All it takes is three little words…stop, look, and listen. Remember when you were little and you arrived at the school crosswalk? They always told you to “stop, look, and listen” and then you can go. Well, the same holds true for gratitude. All you have to do is STOP and realize ALL there is to be grateful for….the very fact that you’re here now reading this is something to be grateful for. Each moment is a gift. And each moment contains within it opportunities. Opportunities to bless others. Then of course, you LOOK. Look around you for ALL you have to be grateful for. If you live in America, you are richer…much richer…than 90 percent of the world’s population. Things we take for granted, things they would LOVE to have…fresh running water, air conditioning, electricity….just to name three. Look at the sunshine, nature, your family…you are literally surrounded by visual reminders of your blessings. Then LISTEN. If you stop and look, then you can really listen….listen to the birds singing praise to their creator, listen to the rain, listen to the washing machine cleaning your clothes.  How poor would your life be without those and SO many other things?

And then GO. With a heart full of gratitude, you can bless others. Speak words of encouragement. Perform a kind act. Take time to listen to someone and make them feel valued. See, gratitude unlocks joy. It’s the ultimate attitude adjustment. Gratitude is a gift. It’s one of the biggest gifts we have. Each moment is a gift, and each moment contains within it opportunity for gratitude, and opportunity to SPREAD gratitude. Because when we spread gratitude by sincerely expressing our thanks, what are we doing? We are conveying appreciation, validation, and respect to others. Who doesn’t want those? Those are some of THE most cherished gifts we can give. Everyone wants to feel appreciated. Everyone wants to feel validated. Everyone wants to be respected. And we have the power to give them those things…if we can have that “attitude of gratitude”

You might think that it’s the happy person who is grateful, but I would counter that it’s the grateful person who is happy! So, give THANKS right now, and spread some happiness!

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5 Simple Ways to Be Happy Now!

 

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When I used to be on the radio, this was one of my absolute favorite segments to share. I loved it so much, in fact, that I saved it in a drawer in my bedroom. Now, I’m excited to share it with you. It is packed with SO much practical wisdom!

Aristotle famously said that rituals define who we are. And scientific research backs that up! You can actually take charge of your own happiness and even boost it by doing certain things. Researchers at the University of California Riverside reviewed some 51 different studies that tested attempts to increase happiness through different types of positive thinking and they found that the following practices can SIGNIFICANTLY enhance your happiness:

1/BE GRATEFUL: Many in those studies were asked to write letters of gratitude to people who had helped them in some way. The study found that people reported a LASTING increase in happiness…over weeks and even months…after implementing the habit. And even more surprisingly, they didn’t even have to send the letter! Yes, even when people just wrote the letters but never sent them, they STILL reported feeling happier! One of my favorite quotes is: “It’s not the happy person who is grateful, it’s the grateful person who is happy!”

2/BE OPTIMISTIC: Another practice you should try is optimistic thinking. Now before you roll your eyes, let me explain. Study participants were asked to visualize an ideal future. For example, living with a loving and supportive partner, or finding a job that was fulfilling…and then they were told to describe that image in a journal entry. After doing this for a few weeks, these people also reported increased feelings of well-being.

3/COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS: People who practice writing down three (just 3) good things that have happened to them each and every week showed a significant boost in happiness. See, focusing on the positive actually gives you reasons to be glad.

4/USE YOUR STRENGTHS: One particular study asked people to identify their greatest strengths, and then they were asked to try to USE those strengths in new ways. For example, someone who says they have a good sense of humor could try to tell jokes or funny stories to cheer up sad friends. Doing that helps YOU as much as the other person!

5/COMMIT ACTS OF KINDNESS: Yes, it IS more blessed to give than receive. Those behind this list have an iPhone app called “Live Happy Now” that you can download on iTunes to boost your well being. But if you don’t want to download the app, just pay for someone’s meal behind you the next time you hit a drive through.

Try implementing these, and you might just feel your heart swell… kinda like this: