Rick Foster and Greg Hicks set out on a three-year journey to study extremely happy people. In their book How We Choose to Be Happy, they found that there are nine choices happy people make. One of those nine is to practice Appreciation. The other of the nine choices includes: Intention, Accountability, Identification, Centrality, Recasting, Options, Giving, Truthfulness, and Synergy.
Happy people actively exercise gratitude and choose to live with an attitude of gratitude. They don’t buy into what geneticists say, that we have an unmovable “happiness set-point.”
The happiest people, according to behaviorists, can move beyond that biological set point through practices such as Yoga and gratitude meditation. In fact, many studies suggest that gratitude can be learned by anyone to transform our lives. This means that by actively practicing gratitude, we can actually raise our “happiness set-point,” regardless of the situation, and no matter the circumstance.
Appreciation makes us aware of the blessings present in our life moment to moment. There is always something to be grateful for if you are fully engaged in what’s happening right now instead of replaying the past or worrying about the future. Besides a higher happiness set point, other benefits of gratitude include:
- Feeling more connected (less lonely)
- Stronger immune system
- Improved emotional equilibrium
- Better sleep
- Increased energy
- More confidence in ourselves
- Deeper relaxation
- We are more attractive
- Increased creativity
- Easier bounce back from difficulty
To experience these benefits we must consciously choose to practice gratitude. Include one of these exercises in your life:
- Set your intention to maintain a Gratitude Journal for one week. Every morning, start your day with a simple gratitude exercise that involves writing down 3-10 things you are grateful for, both big and small.
- Set the timer for three minutes and sit still. Quietly think about all that you appreciate in a free-form stream of consciousness, without any editing. Don’t worry if it makes sense or not.
- For a week write one thank you note per day to tell someone how much you appreciate them and why.
- Practice self-appreciation. Take time for seven days in a row to write yourself a note of gratitude.
You will be amazed at how effortless recognizing these moments of grace becomes. Taken together these small blessings cultivate a beautiful “just right” abundance of love and joy. What’s even better? Studies prove these gratitude exercises will increase your sense of well-being by at least 10%. Don’t take my word on it, or even believe the scientists behind these studies, try it and find out for yourself. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! ~Silvia
Editor’s note: This is another amazing guest post by Daily Cup of Yoga contributor Silvia Mordini, E-RYT, retreat leader, happiness coach, and yogipreneur. Enthusiasm to love your life is contagious around Silvia. Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. Silvia lives her happiness in such a big way that you can’t help but leave her classes, workshops, trainings and retreats spiritually uplifted! Born in Ecuador, raised traveling around the globe, she is an enthusiastic citizen of the world and spiritual adventurer. She has over 10,000 hours and 15 years of teaching experience, owned a yoga studio for 9 years and after being run over by a car used yoga to recover physically and emotionally. Silvia leads Alchemy Tours Yoga Retreats and Alchemy of Yoga RYT200 Yoga Teacher Training.
Silvia can be reached on the Web at www.alchemytours.com or www.silviamordini.com, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @alchemytours, @inspiredyogagal; Facebook: Silvia Mordini; YouTube: lovingyourday; Pinterest: Silvia Mordini; Intagram: alchemytours.