Are you looking to truly embrace an attitude of “thanks” this Thanksgiving? Well recent studies shows that choosing to be and acting grateful can not only actually make you more grateful, but can also greatly improve the happiness in both your life and the lives of others. This study took place last year in New York city and was tested on the life of one. It was my life, I conducted the study, and you too can start your own research with these tips. Here’s how I learned to adopt a #grateful attitude all year long.
Rebel Against Negativity (#goodvibesonly)
Disclaimer. While I do consider myself an optimist I also recognize and embrace a realist mentality. The inevitable has proven that life has it’s ups and downs, so why shouldn’t our moods? None of us are one way all the time. Therefore as I embarked on this journey to find happiness I vowed to accept the negative while pursuing the positive. This sounds simple, but I’ll be the first to say that this practice took just that – practice. It all started by deliberately choosing to see the good in every situation. In doing so I found that the frequency of positivity both inside me and around me changed. Again, this doesn’t mean we should ignore our negative emotions. If fact we should do just the opposite. Acknowledge them and use them as an opportunity to redirect positivity into our lives, the lives of others and the spaces we inhabit. Simply put, happiness is a choice. #goodvibesonly
Fake It Until You Make It (#blessed)
Speaking of practice, my first action step was to fake it. I know, fake happiness and smiles are usually looked upon as snarky and rude, however forcing a smile during a situation where you would rather frown can and will invite more happiness into your life. Crazy as it sounds, frowns turned upside down are infectious. In fact many studies have shown that smiling (whether it’s forced or not) decreases stress. So if you encounter a “Negative Nancy” or if that “Debbie Downer” lives between your own two ears, then I dare you to smile for awhile. Before you know it happiness will show up, and after happiness becomes a regular guest at the party it won’t be long before joy starts making appearances too. Now this is truly #blessed.
Keep Inventory Of The Good (#thelittlethings)
Anxiety has it’s way with many of us and sometimes seeing the bright side of things feels impossible. However I found that in order to really believe that “the good outweighs the bad” you have to keep inventory of the good while experiencing the bad. It all starts with the #thelittlethings. In fact I learned this approach from a toddler. I was having dinner at a friends house and before we ate dinner there was a moment where everyone was asked to say what they were thankful for. I loved their family practice and of course participated. However when it came time for my friend’s toddler to provide his portion I was in awe of not only how long his list was, but how simple it was. He was thankful for his iguana at school, his race cars, the mac and cheese he had for lunch, his socks and even my presence with his family that night. He rattled everything off with such joy and enthusiasm that I couldn’t help but think, “wow, wouldn’t life be great if I consistently took the time to truly take inventory of all the good in my life.”
Happy = Healthy (#grateful)
Yes happiness is an active choice and the impact it has on our lives and the lives of others is huge, however the greatest impact happiness can have in our lives is within our overall health. #Grateful people are happier people both emotionally and physically. In fact in Robert Emmons research, on “positive psychology” he found that those who adopt an “attitude of gratitude” as a permanent state of mind experience many health benefits. They tend get more regular exercise, eat a healthier diet, schedule regular physical examinations with their doctor, cope better with stress and daily challenges, have stronger immune systems and so much more. So on this day dedicated to thanks may we all remember and rededicate ourselves to true gratitude, not only for our health but the health of all those around us. Happy Thanksgiving from one #grateful soul to another!
* Fitness fashion courtesy of Lucy Activewear