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Want More Happy? Practice Gratitude

Christmas promises a much-needed spark of happiness we hope to fan into a flame that will burn into the new year.

So, here we are. Happy New Year and all that. How brightly is your flame burning?

Many of us are likely feeling a bit of a let down now that the holidays are over, like all we have to look forward to every year is that magical time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. The world is so happy then, isn’t it?

What about the other 46 weeks of the year? Are they less happy because they lack the trappings and traps of the holiday season? Does lack of a Christmas tree surrounded with piles of gifts, the dismantling of Santa’s Village at the mall and unwrapping lights from around light poles really make the world is a less happy place?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

What if I told you you could be 25 percent happier and you don’t have to buy anything? That’s right, 25 percent happier for free.

Every day, write down three things for which you are grateful. Science, and common sense, really, shows that practicing lifestyle gratitude makes you happier. By writing down three gifts a day, you not only change the cognitive process of your brain, you change your perspective.

This is especially true if you’re a guy. Ann Voskamp, author of one thousand gifts, a book on the practice of lifestyle gratitude, told the Q Conference that while journaling gratitude makes everyone happier overall, the most profound impact is on men.

“It’s the MEN,” she exclaimed when I met her in Knoxville before Christmas. I can attest. Reading her book and practicing gratitude has changed my life. I write down three gifts almost every day, and I share many of the gifts for which I am grateful publicly through Facebook. I also  write notes and text messages and tell people directly I am grateful for things they have done and also for simply being part of my life.

How much better would life be if you were 25 percent happier? So, what are you grateful for?

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