Friday, April 10, 2009

The Power of Expressing Gratitude

Expressing gratitude is the first intentional activity from The How of Happiness. Recall from my earlier blog that it’s these intentional activities and habits that can account for as much as 40% of our happiness.

Robert Emmons see gratitude as “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.”

According to The How of Happiness, some of the reasons why expressing gratitude might increase happiness are as follows:

1. Grateful thinking promotes the savoring of positive life experiences
2. Expressing gratitude enhances self-esteem
3. Gratitude might help people cope with stress and trauma
4. Gratitude encourages moral behavior
5. Gratitude can help strengthen existing relationship and build new ones
6. Expressing gratitude can make us less likely to compare ourselves to others
7. Gratitude can act as an antidote to negative feelings and emotions
8. Expressing gratitude can help us avoid hedonic adaptation

Is there someone you work with that cares for you, has helped you or made sacrifices for you, has enabled your career to progress, or simply just puts a smile on your face when you see them or talk to them? I hope so! If not, can you think of someone that is just really good at what they do? Or can you think of a purposeful leader that helps others understand why what they do matters?

Think about these folks and appreciate what they are doing. Give them a call, write them a note, send them an e-mail, or stop by in person and express your sincere gratitude.

Make a habit of doing things like this, and consider keeping a record of journal or your activities. As you practice this intentional activity, expect to see an increase in your own happiness.

I’ll post more of these intentional activities suggested by The How of Happiness so stay tuned.

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