Rarely is anything so bad that it couldn’t be worse – and it helps to remember that. After all, you could have lost a hundred dollars instead of 10, or waited in the doctor’s office for an hour instead of 20 minutes. Research has shown that those who take time to appreciate what’s going well in their lives, by expressing gratitude, report greater levels of happiness, increased optimism, improved health, and greater satisfaction with life.

Suggestions for expressing gratitude include:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Each day, track three things that you enjoyed, that went well, or that were positive. Focus on simple things: maybe your bed is very comfortable, your professor let your class go ten minutes early, a friend texted something nice to you, etc.  Notice when these kinds of things make you feel happy and really feel grateful for them.
  • Take the time to hand-write a thank-you note or send a postcard to a person you are thankful for.
  • Create a “thankfulness jar”. Keep pieces of paper next to the jar and whenever you are grateful for something write it down and place the piece of paper in the jar. Invite your friends and family to join you in this activity.

Watch this video to learn more about the benefits of expressing gratitude.

The Science of Happiness - An Experiment in Gratitude

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