Our 6 y/o’s gratitude diary entry for 30 March 2015: I am happy that we have 3 bathrooms.

Positive psychologists claim you can create your own happiness. Conventional wisdom has long held that each of us is simply born with a happiness “set point” (meaning that some people are constitutionally more likely to be happy than others). That’s partially true—but research now suggests that up to 40 percent of our happiness might stem from intentional activities in which we choose to engage. Which activities might actually help us cultivate happiness, positive psychology keeps returning to the same concept: gratitude.  Gratitude enhances wellbeing by magnifying the good in one’s life.

Gratitude is defined as: A felt sense of wonder, thankfulness and appreciation for life. Whenever your heart is filled and filled and just wants to overflow with thanksgiving and joy, there comes advertising, which tells you, ‘No, no, there is a better model and your neighbor has a bigger one.’ Robert Emmons, U. CA, world’s expert on gratitude suggests, gratitude is the antidote to the problems that come with consumer society. Saying “thank you” increases happiness, improves relationships, and even lowers your blood pressure and strengthens your heart.
According to researcher Wendy Mendes of U CA, when people have higher levels of gratitude, they tend to have much better well-being, lower anxiety, higher optimism, lower neuroticism and depression. People with higher levels of gratitude are more socially connected, they’re much less likely to be angry, their sleep quality is better. At a biological level, people who are higher in gratitude have lower resting blood pressure, and when they are exposed to a stressor, they respond with lower blood pressure responses. Higher levels of gratitude are related to higher good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.

Being grateful is a choice. The challenge is to keep a “gratitude journal,” listing just five things for which you’re grateful every week; making a conscious effort to “savor” all the beauty and pleasures in your daily life. This practice works, because it consciously, intentionally focuses our attention on developing more grateful thinking and on eliminating ungrateful thoughts. It helps guard against taking things for granted; instead, we see gifts in life as new and exciting. According to the researchers, those who developed this  habit of gratitude journalizing, experienced more gratitude, positive moods, optimism about the future, and better sleep.

Another gratitude exercise is to practice counting your blessings on a regular basis, maybe first thing in the morning, maybe in the evening. What are you grateful for today? You don’t have to write them down.

Persian poet Sa’di wrote: “I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet” means that, while one can despair about one’s wealth or situation, there is always someone poorer or less fortunate.
humor for the week:
Why are fish terrible tennis players: they are afraid to get close to the net