Practicing gratitude is a simple way to build happiness because when we take the time to notice what we appreciate, life seems better and we resonate with what we have, rather than resenting what we don’t have. Living with gratitude increases life satisfaction, personal growth and wellbeing. It helps us recognise the purpose we have in our life, accept what we have and build more positive connections with others. By simply noticing, we can bring ourselves into a state of thankfulness where we also appreciate what we truly value and what has meaning to us.
How does this happen? We simply find ourselves starting to look for the positive changes that have been made or the beneficial aspects that have come about as a result of painful events. One might find more constructive or productive ways of coping such as focusing on what can be done rather than what can’t be done or interpreting a setback as only temporary rather than something that is permanent. In other words, ask yourself ‘What has worked’?
As discussed in Dr Tony’s “Making Australia Happy” series, practicing gratitude regularly can increase happiness and decrease depressive symptoms. It has also been associated with increased exercise, increased social consecutiveness, improved sleep at night and improved alertness and attention during the day.