The third Happy Cafe morning on August 2nd concentrated on the subject of gratitude; of appreciating and being grateful for things everyday and how this practice has been shown to enhance your overall sense of well being.
Being thankful and appreciative is a powerful force for happiness. It helps to train our brain to notice what is good and it balances out our natural instinct to notice and remember what's wrong, rather than what is right! ( psychologists call this our 'negativity bias' ).
The science behind practising gratitude is compelling. Robert Emmons, a world expert in the psychology of gratitude, has shown that there are a whole range of benefits, including:
* being happier, experiencing more pleasant emotions, being more optimistic
* feeling more alert
* feeling less affected by aches and pains
* sleeping better
* building a stronger immune system and having lower blood pressure...and several more!
One of the most effective ways of increasing our gratitude and appreciation is to write things down. We discussed the now classic '3 good things' activity developed by psychologist Martin Seligman, where you write down three things which go well each day and why they had such a positive effect on you. Studies have shown that this simple activity gradually increases people's happiness and the longer the practice is continued, the more positive effects it has.
You can use a notebook, gratitude journal, a gratitude board to create a visual display, a gratitude jar or photographs to record your ideas. Here are some other resources which may be helpful when exploring the practice of expressing gratitude and the positive impact this can have on your well being. www.365grateful.com www.gratefulness.org www.actionforhappiness.org