Last week I had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with close family and friends in Cincinnati. For the first time in a long time, I took the opportunity to take a step back and think about all the things I’m thankful for in life. I expressed my gratitude for simple things like having a roof over my head, plenty of food on the table and the luxury of being able to spend time with the people I love. As we went around the table, I could not help but feel happy for the laundry list of things we were grateful for that day.
This simple act only reinforced what I had recently learned at TCI’s Life Strategy Conference in Scottsdale. We had the pleasure of having Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD from the Department of Psychology UC Riverside present on the Science of Happiness. According to her research, happiness is determined by genetics, life circumstances/situations and intentional activities. Surprisingly, up to 40% of our happiness is in our power to change and one way to do this is by practicing gratitude. Gratitude is more than just saying thank you. It requires you to focus on and appreciate your life as it is now and what has enabled it to be that way. You should be intentional with your practice by writing in a journal or by sharing what you’re thankful for with someone else. By doing so, you will likely be more productive and helpful.
Gratitude is an antidote to the negative emotions we all have about health, family, work and money. Rather than giving thanks once a year, consider expressing gratitude in one form or another once a week. You may find yourself a little happier.