Growing up, my friend, Louis, had one trick for keeping himself happy. Gratitude!
Every morning he’d think about what he was grateful for. The sun peeking through the curtains, the birds tweeting in the trees, his parents lying in the next room, how he knew that he would have breakfast waiting for him in the fridge.
It seemed too simple to me. But what I’ve realised over time is that simple habits are the best way to have an impact on my happiness. You don’t have to take my word for it:
In a 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Dr. Emmons and his colleague Michael McCullough from the University of Miami examined the effects of writing gratitude diaries on almost 200 college undergraduates. At the end of 10 weeks, those in the gratitude condition reported feeling more positive about their lives as a whole, more optimistic about the upcoming week, having fewer physical symptoms, and spending more time exercising.
“Those who are truly grateful are deeply moved by the privilege of living.” ― Auliq-Ice
How has gratitude helped me?
Every morning that I wake up, I have put my Gratitude Game into my routine. My game is to speak to Sophie about the things that I am grateful for. It’s that simple, “what am i grateful for today?”
This game reminds me how lucky I am to be alive and have what I have.
I find it so easy to get caught in looking at the negatives in my life. The things I haven’t done:
- why isn’t my business more successful
- why don’t I have the instagram life
- I wish I was having more of an impact
These thoughts are disempowering and make me feel like I am a failure. My Gratitude Game stops those thoughts in their tracks and makes you feel lucky and alive.
When I stop to think about what I am grateful for – how much I love my life, how I have a nice place to live, food in the cupboard, a city full of people to talk to, nature around me, a loving family – it makes me feel so much happier. Even typing these words is proof that it works, I’m really tired right now, but putting those things in writing has put a smile on my face.
How to put this into action?
Make sure you see it as a game and add it to the routine. I’m now a big routine person but I haven’t always been. I think the key is to look at what do you do every day? It used to be that the only thing I did with routine was have a shower every morning. But that was where I made it my routine. I’d open my shower gel, say what I was grateful for and do my positive affirmations. I added it to my day where it fit and you can do the same. Make it achievable.
You are training a muscle over time. If you add gratitude to your day for the next 66 days you’ll have a huge shift in how you think about your life. You won’t want to give it up at the end of that time because you know it makes you feel good.
I just want to say I love you for taking this on. The fact that you are here reading this means that you have a huge commitment to your happiness. Now take the actions of the game and I promise you that you will see results.