The Path to Happiness is Paved with Gratitude

According to Robert A. Emmons, people who feel gratitude experience higher levels of happiness and joy in their lives, along with being in better health and taking better care of themselves. Gratitude is acknowledging you are dependent on others, which might be hard for some people, here are some tips on how to develop gratitude: focus on good things happening in your life, accept the bad things and move on. To feel gratitude is to take nothing for granted.

Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life. ~ Christiane Northrup

Would it surprise you to learn that people who experience feelings of thankfulness and appreciation in their lives also tend to be happy?

That’s what UC Davis professor of psychology and one of the leaders of the positive psychology movement Robert A. Emmons has determined after studying the role of gratitude in happiness for the past nine years. According to Emmons:

“People who show gratitude experience higher levels of joy and other positive emotions. They also seem to be less bothered by minor illnesses and actually take better care of their health.”

Emmons’ new book, Thanks: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, is “a blend of information and inspiration on how people can create for themselves the best lives they can,” according to Emmons.

Is finding happiness as simple as appreciating what you have and where you are in life? It is if you can overcome the stigmas of gratitude: Becoming overwhelmed by the challenges of everyday life and an inherent, prideful desire not to be dependent on others. According to Emmons:

“Gratitude is the opposite of personal autonomy; you’re acknowledging you’re dependent on others. “And that can be hard for some people … Grateful people also have more satisfying relationships. They have a greater sense of connectedness.”

Developing, feeling, and outwardly expressing gratitude can be distinctly different things.

How do you develop gratitude?

  1. You take the time to be alone in your thoughts.
  2. You focus on the good things that are happening in your life.
  3. You correct or accept the bad things that are occurring in your life and move on.

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. ~ Brian Tracy

Inwardly, you can feel gratitude by:

  • Practicing thinking that you’re appreciative and thankful for people, places, things, and situations in your life.
  • Speaking aloud your thoughts of gratitude.
  • Writing your expressions down on paper, or
  • Feeling gratitude in your heart and soul, and making it part of your core values and beliefs.

To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude. ~ Albert Schweitzer

Outwardly, you can express gratitude by:

  • Making real connections with people.
  • Telling people what they mean to you.
  • Giving of yourself and your time.
    • Making time for family and friends.
    • Volunteering.
  • Acknowledging others. Pay attention to them, engage with them, and take them seriously.
  • Performing an act of kindness without expecting anything in return.
  • Putting your heart into it when you say “Thank You”, verbally and in writing.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
~ Albert Schweitzer

Gratitude empowers you. It allows you to focus on the positive aspects of life. This, in turn, allows you to build a larger and stronger awareness for the extensive list of things that are life.

Thanks to Anna at Widow’s Quest for including this post in the Carnival of Positive Thinking.

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