Christmas is almost here and London is buzzing. I know you’re busy; shopping, family, friends and more to do than ever.
If you can give me two minutes, I have a gift that will make you happy.
It’s that simple.
I’ve been researching the results of expressing your gratitude and it is amazing what it will do for you.
When you take time to recognise the things you are grateful for, when you thank the people who have made a positive impact in your life – it improves your own happiness. And it lasts.
What’s up with that?
There’s a lot of research by psychologists, neuroscientists and universities. I’ve attached some links if you want to look at the science.
The journal of Psychiatry defines Gratitude as the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to us individually, it is a general state of thankfulness and appreciation. It sounds great, but we have to work at this.
Our cave man brain was wired to remember the negative, which kept us safe; let’s not run back into the cave that has the baby bears in it…
In today’s world that negative slant becomes what we lack, what we haven’t achieved and the people or things that irritate us. We all know it takes no effort to focus on that.
Gratitude and appreciation helps us rewire our brain. Instead of hanging on to what we don’t like, we focus on what we have, the good things in our life and the people who support us.
And it’s quick
Write down three things that you are grateful for every day (try not to repeat) or jot a note to someone that has made a positive difference in your life – big or small.
It’s that easy. You can reprogram your brain if you do this consistently. This is called neuroplasticity and it is the bit of your brain that lets you learn new things and hang on to them.
Make it a habit to count your blessings on your way home from work or spend those twilight minutes before sleep focused on the good things in your life.
Consciously and overtly expressing your gratitude makes it easier to feel happy today and easier to hang onto to that feeling right into the new year.
So I’ll finish with a big thank you for supporting me through the last seven years of these posts. Yes… writing this does make me smile.
I want to wish you Merry Christmas and a very happy new year.
Want the science or more information on how gratitude makes you happy?
Forbes: Scientifically proven benefits of gratitude
Big Think: Practicing gratitude seriously rewires your brain for the better
Harvard Newsletter: In praise of gratitude
Journal of Psychiatry: Gratitude and wellbeing – the benefits of appreciation