“Our days rarely go according to plan or without unexpected challenges. Some of us can naturally appreciate the sweet moments as they happen throughout the day, while many of us need to cultivate this sense of appreciation.” -Dr. Randy Kamen, Psychologist, Educator, Author
If you were to take a poll of the people you know, you’d find that the people who are the happiest are the people who can see the silver lining in every cloud, or see the gift in even the toughest of situations. These positive people carefully choose their perspectives on life; they choose to appreciate the littlest of things, for they know that it’s the little things that will make the biggest difference in your life.
An unexpected thank you from someone. A smile from a stranger. Your coffee already paid for when you get to the till at your favourite coffee shop. A beautiful sunrise or sunset. These little things can quickly turn a ‘bad day’ into a ‘good day’ if you take the time to notice and appreciate them.
Noticing – and appreciating, – the smallest of gifts, kindnesses and gentle words leads to the emotion we call gratitude. Both Feeling and Expressing thankfulness and appreciation is what gratefulness is all about.
Being grateful positively impacts your physical, emotional and social well-being. Studies within the scientific field of Positive Psychology have shown that the benefits of gratitude include:
- Greater optimism and happiness,
- Improved feelings of connection in times of loss or crises
- Increased self-esteem
- Heightened energy levels
- Strengthened heart, immune system, and decreased blood pressure
- Improved emotional and academic intelligence
- Expanded capacity for forgiveness
- Decreased stress, anxiety, depression, and headaches
- Improved self-care and greater likelihood to exercise
- Heightened spirituality — ability to see something bigger than ourselves
Being grateful is a way of celebrating life’s little joys and being grateful will make you happy.
As Chris Thompson, survivor of a 20 year prison term and author of the book “The Loser’s Guide to Happiness and Loving Yourself”, wrote,
“This is the great lesson I learned from prison: Never take anything for granted. If you’re truly grateful for what you have, you’ll always be happy, and you’ll never need anything more.”