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How to be happy: Be more thankful, more often

Categories: Just For Fun, Your life


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 you’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?

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2 comments so far...

  • My best friend and I end our daily emails with a short list of three to 5 things that we are thankful or make us happy for each day.

    They are often little things like - my little man waking up happy and talking instead of whining and grumpy. But other times is being thankful for a person or a relationship - an event. Anything that comes to mind.


    my son’s laugh
    chocolate covered almonds
    deep talks with hubby last night

    Sometimes its hard to come up with something — and all I’m thankful for is a the cup of coffee getting me through the day - but its something I look forward to doing each day.

    Often it’s a way that we share the little details in our lives with out writing a book about them everyday - and it makes us feel more connected. I think there is something to the sharing of your gratitude that is powerful as well.

    We started this after we had gone through a series of tough situations at our job (we worked together and became best friends) -and we found ourselves becoming all negative all the time. Now — I’m all for a good b*&^h session every now and again - but this act of focusing on the positive and the things we are thankful for has really helped us get out of that negative rut!

    Stasia  |  August 22nd, 2008 at 11:58 am

  • yes. the number certainly goes up. This is very good. Reminds us to think about what we have rather then just thinking about what we would like to accomplish.

    I do this each day. I thank the higher power for what he bestowed upon me and wish for more strength and health to keep going further…

    Vera Babayeva  |  August 22nd, 2008 at 10:34 pm