If I had the key to happiness wrapped up in one word, would you want to know what that one word was? In positive psychology research, GRATITUDE is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.[i] That’s right. Those with a high level of gratitude, a complete shift in mindset for some, were the people that ranked highest when testing happiness levels.
As we move into the Holiday Season, specifically Thanksgiving, there’s always an emphasis on gratitude. You know how it goes… everyone takes a turn around the table and shares what they are grateful for. But, what would it look like if we did this all year round?
Gratitude comes from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness or gratefulness. In a lot of ways, gratitude can mean all of those things. Harvard Medical School defines gratitude as a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.
So, what are some ways we can incorporate gratitude outside of our round table Thanksgiving discussions? We wrote a couple of gratitude exercises for you to try:
- A gratitude journal
I know it sounds cliché, but there’s a reason why you’ve heard of this. When you use it, it does work! Challenge yourself to find 3 things you were grateful for each day. There might be days where this comes really naturally. But, it’s the days that challenge you the most that allow you the most growth potential.
- A gratitude walk
If you’re a summer lover like me this might seem like a terrible idea in the weather we’ve had lately, but that just might be why it’s the perfect exercise to try out. As you’re walking, use your 5 senses. What sights, sounds, feelings, taste and smells are you thankful for?
- A gratitude rock
This might seem a little silly at first. But, this rock should simply be used as a prompt or a reminder. Either place this somewhere in sight at home or at work, or you can also place in your pocket. This will simply remind you to have a constant heart and mind of gratitude towards yourself and others.
Would you rather try something else? Check out this article from Positive Psychology Program that lists several more exercises for you to try. Once you try it out, let us know your experience! Or maybe you already have some favorite gratitude exercises you use, write them on our social media posts so others can try them out too.
[i] Harvard Health Publishing (Simon, n.d.)