“The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes world you see” – Dr Robert Holden

So how do we raise our level of happiness permanently?

A study done by Robert Emmons and Robin Stern, “Gratitude as a Psychotherapeutic Intervention” shows that expressing gratitude is scientifically proven to make you happier. And it is something that you can incorporate very easily into your daily life, bringing awareness to your life, mindfulness, and appreciating what you’re thankful for and why. So it’s about recognising and no longer ignoring the little things in your life that should be making you really happy.

To summarise: Being actively grateful will make you a happier person.

A study done by Emmons and Stern took 300 people, gave them each a journal and told them to write down what they noticed while walking. These 300 were separated into 3 groups:

  • One group was told to focus on all the up-beat things they could find — sunshine, flowers, smiling pedestrians.

  • Another was to look for negative stuff — graffiti, litter, frowning faces.

  • The third group was instructed to walk just for the exercise and write anything down.

At the end of the year, those who had deliberately targeted positive cues were happier than before the experiment, had a better level of well-being, better sleep and more exercise, simply by writing down what they were grateful for. The negatively focused subjects were less happy, and the just plain exercisers scored in between.

The point is that you see what you look for. And you can actively train yourself to be happy, instead of passively waiting for happiness to find you.

Click the photo - or here - to watch more about this.

So how can you start to consciously and proactively incorporate gratitude into your life?