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.
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.