Gratitude = The Quickest Path to Happiness
Here at Tribute we’re all about spreading love and gratitude. Now, that’s great and all, but let’s be practical here.
I’m sure many of you probably agree that gratitude is wonderful and that it makes people happy, but can you honestly say that you actively take the time to acknowledge what you’re grateful for everyday?
We all have our excuses. Our days are often so busy we barely have time to breathe much less take a few extra minutes to practice grateful living. And you may be asking yourself will it really make a difference?
Well, the answer is yes. And here’s why.
Let’s get to the basics: what is gratitude?
Gratitude at its core is the state of being thankful. When you say “thank you” to someone for holding a door open, yes, that’s gratitude. But we’re talking about grateful living, which encompasses so much more.
Gratitude involves being thankful for a person, a thing, or even yourself. It can be about the past, the present or the future; it has no restraints. Most importantly is about acknowledging what it is that brings us joy and the people in our lives we can’t imagine living without.
But what’s the big deal you may ask? Well it just so happens that gratitude does more than make someone smile, it’s proven to make other people- and yourself- happier and healthier.
Gratitude and health benefits? Yep, they go together.
Gratitude is proven to boost our overall health as well as our emotional well-being. Research from The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley and several other sources have shown that practicing gratitude has some incredible mental and physical benefits such as heightening our immune system to fight illness, decreasing blood pressure, and lowering stress hormones such as cortisol by up to 23%.
Methods and Practices
It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re going to try to be more grateful, but the reality is it’s highly unlikely that you’ll actually follow through with such a general request. Set something more specific in place:
- Write in a gratitude journal. Gratitude journals have been proven to make you happier by up to 25%, and all you have to do is jot down a few notes each day.
- Simple gratitude meditation. Whether it’s before you go to bed, after you wake up, on your commute, or during your hour, take a minute to recite 3 things you are grateful for and 3 things you are looking forward to.
The Quickest Path to Happiness
Great friends aren’t just nice to have, but are an essential component to a full, rewarding life. In Harvard’s 75-year study on Adult Development, the Director of the study, Dr. Waldinger proclaimed front and center, “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” And one of the best ways to gain and maintain those good relationships? Gratitude.
If we want to build stronger social ties, one of the easiest things we can do, is be more giving with our gratitude and appreciation of the people we care about. It is one of the easiest ways to support them, which immediately makes them feel more connected to you.
At Tribute, we’ve created a few pillars that will help you communicate with gratitude and solidify your relationships and build new ones.
- I love you, because…
Dr. Robert Cialdini is the author of Influence, one of the seminal books on persuasion. He talks about how it is not our statement of affection that impacts the recipient, it is the explanation of it.
So, saying “I love you” is important and always has an impact, but it’s when we take time to qualify our love with an explanation that the true authenticity and thought comes through.
- If you have anything nice to say, say it all
Remember that saying we all heard a million times growing up, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
I realized that the statement is exponentially more powerful when you take out the two “don’ts.” It becomes, “If you have anything nice to say, say it all.”
That simple message will transform the way you bring gratitude into your life and connect with people.
- The power of prompts
Getting people to open up and share their feelings for someone is a vulnerable, scary thing. Prompts make it easier.
When you provide a group of people with a prompt question, it immediately eases the pressure of saying something authentic and meaningful. It also provides a positive peer pressure that reassures people that vulnerable communication will be celebrated, not ostracized.
The Final Line
So here’s the thing, it’s not rocket science: good relationships make us happier, and gratitude makes for good relationships, therefore gratitude is the quickest path to happiness.