The secret to happiness is being grateful for what you already have versus pining for the things you do not. Most of us know that, but often we find ourselves striving for something more, or getting caught up in expectations rather than embracing gratitude.
November is a great time to pause and reflect on all the wonderful things that we are blessed to have in our lives. There are many different practices that can help you to cultivate more gratitude in your life. My husband and I share the best part of our day with each other every night when we climb into bed. It’s a great way to bring awareness to the positive aspects of each day. It’s never hard to come up with something, and often times we have more than one thing to share.
Another variation of this is the practice called Three Good Things, which involves either writing down,
or sharing three good things that happened in your day with one or more people in your life. Researchers who followed a group of people who participated in a study of the Three Good Things practice, found that happiness levels rose 5% after a month and 9% by six months.I often encourage my clients to keep gratitude journals and write down three things that they are grateful for every night before bed. With this practice, you bring your focus to all of the gifts that you already have. If you share your good things with friends and family, it provides a way to connect that brings more joy to both of you. There is a neurological response to the mood of the people who you interact with each day, so this practice is a great way to be sure those responses are positive.
We have a negativity bias, which means we give more weight to bad things and see positive things as neutral or normal. However, we can learn to refocus our attention to the good in our lives and rewire our brain over time. I encourage you to try the Three Good Things practice (either by writing them down each night and/or sharing with at least one other person) for the next four weeks, and take note of any changes you notice in your mood. Share your experience with us in the comments or on social media.