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Expressing Gratitude

 

Techniques Happiness > Expressing Gratitude

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Be grateful for your life and the good things in it. Be grateful that you have food and shelter, that you have friends or whatever little or large things you have. Be grateful for the sun and rain, for rock music, football or whatever makes you happy.

There are always those who have less than you. There are also those who have more, yet having more does not make you happy.

If you are religious, give thanks in your prayers. At least for every request, also add a thanks.

Be verbal in you thanks whenever someone does something for you, no matter how small. Mean what you say, smiling and offering eye contact.

When bad things happen, be grateful that they do not happen more often and use them to remind yourself of what is good in your life, even if it seems little at the moment.

It can also be very effective just to sit down and write out all the things for which you should be grateful. Imagine what your life would be like without those things you may take for granted. It can be surprising how long your list can be.

Discussion

This is a simple technique but is highly effective. It has been shown that those who are generally grateful are measurably happier than those who are not. It is no surprise that many religious teach the importance of gratitude. 

Thanking other people is a social act that shows you to be a conforming with norms and frames you as a good person who thinks well of others who think of you. The visible act of thanking also affirms to your subconscious that this is the right thing to do. Gratitude is not only a personal but also a social and moral act.

Practice helps. Be deliberate in your thanking. Emmons and McCullough (2003) found that practicing gratitude (writing down five things to be grateful for happened in the last week) could increase happiness by around 25%.

As Cicero said, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others".

See also

Values, Morals and Ethics

 

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