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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happiness and Gratitude


Lanikai Beach, Kailua, Hawaii

Catherine Price, a journalist looking at what positive psychologists recommend in order for people to feel happier, decided to experiment with herself over a period of six weeks in order to determine if the typical exercises make a difference. She writes about her findings in Will Saying Thanks Make Us Happier?

Here's some of what psychologists of this new school of thought recommend (see also my October 2006 Newsletter - Happiness: Has it Become a Science or is it a Question of Luck?)
  • keep a gratitude journal - write down five things you are grateful for on a daily basis (as simple as being grateful for a sunny day, the smile you get from a child, or a favorite pet who shows you his love for you)

  • stop to savor something every day (watch that multi-hued sunset spread out over the horizon, taste the smoothness of that chilled juice going down your throat, enjoy your own laughter as you watch that comedy)

  • write a letter to someone that once did something for you that means a lot to you, and let them know about it

There are many others, but the gist of them all is this: you begin to recognize that you yourself are responsible for how well you feel, for how content you are, for how much happiness there is within you. Realizing that, you will never again be shackled by the misery of only reacting to what happens to you. Taking responsibility for yourself forms part of achieving inner freedom.

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