Happiness Starts with this Habit

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We are taught at a very young age that it is our right to pursue happiness—and most of us try a little bit of everything all in an effort to become happy. We try making a lot of money; we try this or that diet; we get into this or that relationship; we serve this or that charitable organization—it’s all about happiness. Try thinking of something you’ve done because you wanted to be unhappy—it’s impossible, right? The pursuit of happiness drives us to action.

So, we’re all after the same thing—happiness. Great. We’re all on a level playing field, and we’re all in this together. Teammates! But now we return to the original difficulty—we all want to be happy, but sometimes it’s tough to see how to get there. There can’t be a single path to happiness! It’s impossible, right?

Wrong. There is a very simple way that works across all cultural divides. It is called gratitude. When we appreciate the things that we have in our life, and the people who have helped us grow, we become happier. If we get into a habit of constantly regarding the positive things in our lives, then the habit becomes easier—you don’t have to listen for the bird’s song, you simply hear it. You don’t have to drive across town, you get to drive across town—and you take a new route, and you see a new person, and you become more curious, and you dream anew. When we get ourselves into habits of gratitude, rain doesn’t make things gray, it makes things sparkle.

LyubomirskyHappinessScience has recently begun to support the belief that gratitude can make us happy—where previously it was believed that there was a set point for happiness in each person, a limit coded into our DNA—now scientists believe that 40% of our happiness is influenced by intentional activities. 40% is a lot. You are in control. Be good to yourself by being grateful. Be good to others by thanking them for who they are, and what they do for you.

So if you’re reading this, and you want to be happy (that means you), let me recommend an intentional activity that will do wonders for you. Each week write one thank you note to someone who makes your life better. That’s one handwritten thank-you note per week. Not a text, not a Facebook post, but a heartfelt, handwritten thank-you note, which indicates to someone that you spent time and postage on them because they matter. It could be your best friend, your yoga instructor, your hair stylist—it could be anyone. Your relationships will become more meaningful, you will become happier, and so will everyone you touch. All it takes is a few minutes of mindful gratitude each week—remember, you are in control of 40% of your overall happiness, and remember that we are all in this together. So let’s start a habit, and let’s start a movement.

I’ve launched a campaign for this purpose—to help us build habits of gratitude. I am passionate about gratitude, and what it can do for us as a community—and I wanted it to be a beautiful and convenient habit in our lives. I thought tirelessly about how to do that—and the tools are finally ready. Gramr Gratitude Co. is live on Kickstarter—we’ve worked with the best designers and photographers in the country to create and deliver four new, gorgeous cards to your doorstep each month—one per week. If you join us you will become part of a community that believes that people matter, and that gratitude matters. Your happiness starts with this habit of intentional gratitude.

So, who are you grateful for? And what are you waiting for? Tell them.

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Self1 copy-1Editor’s note:  This is a guest post by Matt Richardson, co-founder of Gramr Gratitude Co. and he is passionate believer in the power of gratitude. His work can be found on the Huffington Post, and his startup has been featured in TechCrunch among various other outlets. Join him in the gratitude movement and get in the habit of saying thanks once per week, by visiting www.gramr.us

When he is not writing thank-you notes he is hitchhiking, drinking coffee, or searching for storytellers.  Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or his website

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Comments

  1. I write one letter to someone I know every week and I send birthday cards in the mail (generally two a week). In this day and age, people are surprisingly touched. There is something beautiful about receiving something hand written that affects people beautifully. Another thing I do, before bed every night, is to write down three things I was grateful for that day. I often fall asleep thinking of how thankful I am and wake up with the same thought.

  2. Mahmood says:

    Daily read a verse from the Quran with translation

  3. That a grate post. Well written.

  4. Great post! :) I totally agree with you. I discovered the power of beeing greatful after reading book called Chicken Soup for the Soul. Now I made a list of things why I love my job and try to read it often and I noticed that i begin to enjoy my job more and more. I also try to keep journal about things I can be greatful each day :)

  5. Wow really awesome stuff, and all this for an Good Cause.Really happy for you

  6. This is exactly what the Bible teaches”learn to be content in all situations” and “do for others as you would have them do to you”. Such a good lesson to live by, thank you for the reminder…we all need to be better at this. That would not only change our happiness but it would also change the world!

  7. Yes we should all be more grateful for what we have appreciate it every day And complain less

  8. One simple word is love which incorporates respect and gratitude in the universe

  9. Kevin Keefe says:

    My only son was killed in an automobile accident it is so hard to be grateful for anything.

  10. Deb Macleod says:

    That was a sneaky ad for a “happiness” card:(…when are we going to stop doing something first before allowing ourselves to feel serenity?

  11. John E. says:

    Dear Kevin, I have a son and daughter, and if i lost either i’m sure i would feel the same way. My brother was the closest person to me in my life, and he died of a medical accident in 2001. i was very pained for a long time. he was an artist and musician. so eventually i made a book of his drawins and paintings, and a cd of our music. overt time the sting of his death subsided a lot, and now i am grateful for something–that he was my brother, and i shared many years with him before he died. i stll sorely miss him though. And deb, i was thinking the same thing. Cheers, john.

  12. My dear
    Thank u for reminding us the people to be grateful in life just the fact that we can get up every morning and have a job to go to and thank every moment that we are able to breath and see this beautiful world to live in you are absolutely very right we should be grateful to everything. In life

  13. At the beginning of your article you stated we are taught from an early age that we have the”right” to pursue happiness…I TRUELY thought you were going to say we were taught to be thankful!

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