Look on the bright side…. We’ve all heard this advice, and if not, there’s a good chance we said it to a friend who needed a little cheering up.
But, what good does it do to look on the bright side? Does it actually help us feel better or just temporarily distract us from the less desirable emotions we are currently feeling? This is not to say that we should only focus on the positive – that is, we deny a part of ourselves and the world we live in; without the dark we would not be aware of the light.
However, keeping track of our gratitude can improve our moods — as much as 25%, according to the study that follows. When we’re constantly thinking about what’s going wrong, we don’t leave much room for what’s going right. By changing your mindset, you will eventually become more aware of what you are grateful for and less of what bothers you. When you are someone who believes in the law of attraction , it means that you will attract more positivity into your life.
Practicing Gratitude Can Increase Your Overall Happiness
A study conducted in 2003 by Emmons and McCollough found that practicing gratitude has a positive effect on our well-being. The study was conducted with three experimental groups over a 10-week period. dr. Robert A. Emmons described the research in his new book ‘ Thanks! †
- The first group was asked to write down five things they were grateful for that had happened in the past week, for each of the 10 weeks. This was called the gratitude condition.
- The second group was asked to write down five daily irritations or difficulties at the end of the week. This was the difficulty condition .
- The third group was asked to simply write down five events that had happened in the past week, but were not asked to focus on positive or negative aspects. This was the control condition .
The kinds of things people mentioned in the gratitude condition were:
- Sunrise through the clouds
- The opportunity to live
- The generosity of friends
- The right to vote
And in the difficulty condition:
- Difficult to find a parking space
- Burned my macaroni with cheese
- No money for petrol
Before the experiment started, the participants kept diaries about their moods, physical health and general attitude. These observations were used for comparison after the 10-week experiment ended.
The results of the survey concluded that satisfaction levels had increased by 25%. Those in the gratitude condition were more optimistic about the future, felt better about their lives, and even did an average of 1.5 hours more exercise per day than those in the difficulty or control condition. It is amazing to think that all this can be achieved simply by focusing on your benefits rather than your burdens.
How can you implement more gratitude in your daily life?
Depending on your current state, it can sometimes be difficult to find things that you are grateful for. You may be going through a challenging experience, a divorce, the loss of a loved one, financial insecurity, but despite these challenges, there are always things to be thankful for. The more you exert yourself to learn about these things, the easier it will become. It becomes a habit; on the other hand, focusing only on the difficulties in your life also becomes a habit.
Who likes a challenge?! I challenge anyone reading this to start keeping a gratitude journal. Every day for a month, write down one thing you are grateful for. It can be that simple! If you’ve had a mostly bad day, but your dog came and licked your nose, write this down. You can literally write down everything you are grateful for in your life.
If you’re having a hard time sticking to these kinds of tasks, try something that has worked well for me in the past—calling on a friend. Find a friend who is also interested in taking on this challenge. Every day you send a message to your friend telling him (or her) at least one thing you are grateful for, and he in turn sends you something he is grateful for. In this way you hold yourself accountable. When one of you forgets, the other will (hopefully) remind you.
At the end of the month, reflect back on the month and see if your mood has changed, if you were more inspired to treat yourself well, and if your overall happiness has increased.
Change your mindset, change your life
Life is all about perception. As Oprah Winfrey said:
“Be thankful for what you have; you will end up with more. If you focus on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
If you only focus on what goes wrong, you will never see what goes right. Change your focus, see what happens!
Lots of love