If you want to be happier be thankful for things you have in your life more often.
That is the basic message in Thanks!, a book by Robert Emmons, a professor at UC-Davis who studies the field of positive psychology. I browsed through the book the other day at Barnes & Noble, after reading something about it in a magazine (if you are thinking I am going to be a good blogger and link to the article, you’re wrong — it was in some doctor’s waiting room and I couldn’t even tell you the title.)
This seems like a very simple concept but I know I don’t practice it enough. When I do, it works.On days when I stop and appreciate what I already have in my life, small or big, I feel better and I am more positive as a person. Period. On days when I am caught up with trying to chase something or don’t take a single moment to stop and appreciate things, I feel crappier and am generally crappier to be around. In my sample size of one, this principle seems to be true 100%.
While looking for the article I’d read in the doctor’s office and was going to link to — and not finding it — I stumbled upon one that suggested a fun little exercise:
First, on a scale of one to ten, with one being blah and ten being the best you ever felt, give yourself a number. Next, write down or think about the things youâ€™re grateful for. Now rate yourself again. Did your number go up, even a little?
I did this and my number went up. And I think all of your ultra busy moms out there should do it as well. Write down how happy you feel, 1-10, 10 being highest. Then write down or think about 3 things in your life you’re thankful for and see if your number goes up.
With the endless juggling we all do it’s easy to forget to be thankful. How do you remind yourself to appreciate what you have in your life?