Can you be happy for 31 days?
In this current day and age we often just go around our business not realising what is really going on around us, with us or next to us. We wake up, shower, have breakfast, go to work, break for lunch, go home, maybe go to the gym, eat, shower, go to sleep. I guarantee that this routine was or is a part of pretty much everyone who is reading this post today. Obviously, there may be some differences, some of us will incorporate exercise, yoga, meditation, socialising, shopping or whatever it is that you enjoy doing here and there but I am curious to know how many of us have actually set time aside for gratitude.
It is a part of my regular practice to say “thank you”. In fairness, I sometimes do not know who I am saying thank you to but it is now instilled in me and when I forget I make sure I say thank you the very moment I remember.
My first thank you happens as soon as I open my eyes. Why? Because I realise that the breath that I just consciously took is a blessing. I know that there was a person out there this morning who took their last breath too. Gratitude continues throughout my day, before my drinks, my meals, during my walks. Sometimes I look at the blue sky and realise how thankful I am for my eyes and my vision, without them I would not be able to see all the beauty this world has to offer. After all day out, walking around, feeling how painful my feet are I realise how amazing it is to have these feet that carry the heavy weight of my body every single day without fail, without question.
When I open the window after the summer rain and smell that beautiful scent the gratitude overtakes my body again as yet again there is something to be thankful for, my sense of smell. And my day continues like that, pretty much every day however there is just one more thank you I say every day, that’s as soon as I get to bed before falling asleep. That’s the one that for some reason I cherish the most, it’s not that it’s more important than the others, it’s the one that resonates with me and makes my the centre of my heart glow. It may be because it’s all the thank yous of the day collated together or it may be cause I realise that every failure or triumph of that day was a growth that I will cherish for days to come.
Yes, I know that my gratitude routine may sound slightly overwhelming to some of you and trust me, I will not try to persuade you to do it but I would really like to tell you how gratitude can affect your life if you make it your regular practice. These effects are not only experienced by myself but by a lot of people who have taken part in an actual studies on gratitude! Here are the top 5 benefits of practicing gratitude:
1. Gratitude improves physical health – a 2012 study published by Personality and Individual Differences says that grateful people experience less aches and pains and they generally feel healthier. Do you think this may be related to all the love we are sending towards ourselves?
2. Gratitude can open door to more relationships – according to a study published in Emotion, saying thank you/appreciation can help you win more friends and long lasting relationships. It seems that thanking a new person makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship with you! Say thank you to a co-worker, to a stranger who held the lift for you, or the store clerk!
3. Gratitude reduces toxic emotions and in turn improves your psychological health - Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression.
4. It reduces aggression – it turns out that grateful people are more likely to behave in an acceptable manner even when faced with less kind individuals as well as negative feedback according to a study done by the University of Kentucky in 2012.
5. It generally makes you a happier person - by appreciating what you have and seeing the little things, you bring more positive emptions into your life which in turn makes you happy!
There are few other things that gratitude can do, but the one that matters the most I think is the fact that it just generally makes you feel better, about pretty much everything. With time you will realise that every single thing that happens is something to be grateful for.
With August being a Happiness Happens Month I would like you all to join me for a challenge called 31 Days of Happiness. I started a Facebook group in which I will post videos, tips and talk about gratitude practices you can implement in your daily life. Don’t worry, I won’t be asking you to do anything crazy or out of ordinary and I can guarantee that you won’t even have to invest much time into it, only as much as you want to. It can be anything from 1 minute to an hour or even a full day if this is what’s in your plan.
All I want to tell you is that happiness happens one little step at the time and without even realising it, you can make it contagious.
Please join the group by clicking on the link below
Looking forward to hearing your stories of happiness soon!
Love and Light,