Gratitude: There are at least 26 benefits to gratitude. Quite a number of studies show that increasing happiness is among them. At the beginning or end of each day….every day… write down three things you are grateful for. They don’t have to be big, earthshattering events. Simple joys will do. Did you have an especially good cup of coffee? Notice the shape of a flock of birds against the sky? Have a fun interchange with your child? The important thing is that you write them down. You can keep them in a note on your phone, or in a notebook you keep for that purpose. Or there’s an app for that, whether you have an iPhone or Android. Another important point is to try to have unique entries each day…using the same ones over and over is cheating, because part of the skill is noticing new things you are grateful for.
Another way to increase happiness?
Random Acts of Kindness: The science of kindness is amazing. Studies show that acts of kindness benefit both the receiver, the doer, and those observing! When you perform an act of altruism, or kindness, the levels of serotonin rise in your brain (and in the brain of the recipient, and in the brains of anyone observing!). Serotonin is neurotransmitter… a chemical in your brain…that causes feelings of calm, and reduces anxiety. Many antidepressant medications work by increasing levels of serotonin, and this is a way of increasing that level naturally. Additional studies have shown that kindness is also contagious. People who observe acts of kindness are more likely to perform them in the future. So spread the kindness…that’s something else to feel good about!
“A little kindness from person to person is better than a vast love for all humankind.” – Richard Dehmel, poet and playwright (1863-1920)