What makes you happy? I mean really—more than a fleeting moment happy?
Do you have memories you can dial into to bring you to your “happy” place? Do you desire to experience happiness with more frequency?
In a world with so much coming at us where we struggle to be able to sort fact from fiction, being happy may seem like a pipe dream.
Deep breath. Let the helpless feeling move on by.
There is a practice that will aid in you experiencing more happiness than you do today. I say practice because, much like many other pursuits worth their time, this solution requires 10 undivided minutes of your morning and evening on a consistent basis.
With gratitude and the science of positive psychology, you can build a practice that inspires happiness every day.
“The key to so much of what a great life has to offer is creating a gratitude practice.”
What is Gratitude?
English Dictionary: a strong feeling of appreciation to someone or something for what the person has done to help you
Positive Psychology offers ten definitions and summarizes it as: “…a positive emotion that is felt after being the beneficiary of some sort of gift. It is a social emotion that is often directed towards a person (the giver of a gift), though it is also often felt towards a higher power. Gratitude is often felt when a gift is not necessarily deserved, or when the gift was not given in some sort of reciprocal sense.”
What is Happiness?
Merriam Webster: a) a state of well-being and contentment b) a pleasurable or satisfying experience
Greater Good Center: the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile. As defined by Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky and adopted by the greater good center.
How are Gratitude and Happiness connected?
When we experience gratitude, we feel it. A gratitude practice gives us the ability to move that feeling from within us to our external world in various ways. A simple “thank you” is certainly one way to move gratitude from the inside out—when thoughtful and executed with awareness and purpose, “thank you” is a great start to a gratitude practice.
Imagine you are now the one receiving a well-placed and thought out “thank you.”
How do you feel? Does the act of receiving thanks create a happiness within you? When you receive a “thank you”, do you want to reciprocate? How long does the feeling of this gratitude you received last?
Dr. Emmons is one of the leading scientist regarding gratitude, and in his book Thanks! he asks, “What good is gratitude?” In his research, he was easily able to show the direct impact that gratitude has on your happiness.
“A grateful mindset fosters the processing of every day life events through a lens of what is right and well rather than with what is wrong.”
This simple orientation to our world enhances your access to satisfaction and joy. When we acknowledge and celebrate the gifts we receive, entitlement stays at bay and the ordinary is always extraordinary.
For you realists—when we filter our world through what is “right”, it does not mean we aren’t being realistic and dealing with life on life’s terms. The magic is that we become more resilient in the tough times because of gratitude and the science of positive psychology.
Imagine you are bungee jumping, and the free fall is your situation (perhaps less than desirable) and the runner band that pulls you back to the platform is your gratitude practice. No matter how fast or far you fall, if fastened properly, the runner band will catch you before you hit the ground, pulling you back to safety.
It’s the same with your gratitude practice. Even on the darkest day in your most desperate hour, your gratitude practice will pull you back to safety before you smack face first into the ground. Knowing that it is there for you to call on any time is happiness all in itself.
Have you ever witnessed someone that has been through some very trying times, and yet they seem to remain full of possibility? Does this mean they do not feel the loss, grief, or burden?
No! All it means is they know they are more than the situation and that it’s better to light a candle than to curse the dark. When they are ready, they know they can mine for the gifts the situation has to offer.
Christopher Reeves suffered an irreparable injury to his spine in1995. This is Superman—how could this have happened to him? You could say he hit bottom, going from flying through the sky as our superhero to a wheelchair in matter of seconds.
I remember an interview he did with Oprah where he talked about the smugness that so many of us have about so much of our lives. This interview left a mark on me, regarding the gift of my legs, arms, and ability to move.
In many ways, he gave life to my gratitude practice in that interview by sharing we are all one big family. I remember a tingling in every part of my body at the absolute knowing that was in his statement, and the grace he had to access a gift despite the pile of poo he landed in.
It’s part of the human condition to need a tragedy to redirect one’s life, priorities etc. I have been a student of this phenomenon as my own life has born witness to this occurrence.
“Gratitude shouldn’t be a byproduct of tragedy. It should be a core value, a staple of all our belief systems, and the lens through which we view the world.”
Over the past fifteen years, I have worked hard to value every little thing, person, and experience bestowed on me. My practice is not perfect, and I continue to do it anyway.
This is the essence of a gratitude practice.
Gratitude: the virtue that unlocks all others
There is no silver bullet when it comes to taking advantage of gratitude and the science of positive psychology. It will be a lot of trial and error.
There are infinite ways to create your practice and many ways to feel and express your gratitude. I encourage you to just get started. Start over and over if that is what it takes.
“Remember, perfection is actually a thief of joy, so do not use it as a measure of success.”
In fact, don’t measure at all. Feel it, then follow that feeling. While the practice itself is often mind over matter, the unfolding of your inner grace comes from you heart and soul. Thank your mind for opening the door, walk in, and be in your own grace.
So, is the quality of your life worth 10 minutes a couple of times a day?
No need to wait for a struggle to get started. I have created a very easy way for you to jump in and start your gratitude practice. Whether you are new to the concept of journaling or an expert, the process the Trybal Gratitude Journal offers will meet you where you are.
It’s flexible, and it’s fundamental underpinning is practice, not perfection.
Still not sure or feeling crammed for time? I get it—been there done that. Like all great practices (exercise, meditation etc.), the practice creates space and time that is more focused and as a result more rewarding. Join our #gratitudetsunami community and align the life you are living to the one your heart desires.
You don’t have to take my word for it! One customer, Sami Lien, said,
“If you’re looking to shift your mindset into the positive, and grow appreciation and love in your life, the Trybal Gratitude Journal will help you do it!”