Studies have shown that practicing gratitude on a regular basis makes you happy. But isn’t that just pretending everything is okay when it isn’t? Well, not exactly.
Being thankful for what you have isn’t about denying the reality of suffering. Life can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Gratitude makes you happier in many ways:
- It reminds you of all the good things in your life;
- It helps you focus on what is really important;
- It reminds you to thank other people;
- It strengthens neurological pathways that promote happiness and wellbeing
You can improve the quality of your life in a little as 2-3 minutes per day simply by paying attention to what is good in your life. As you focus on what you like, you will attract even more good things into your life.
What You Notice Is What You Get
Your subconscious mind brings you whatever you focus on. So if you focus on what you don’t like, you’ll get more of what you don’t like. This article about beliefs explains how this works in more detail.
My weight loss hypnosis clients have learnt this the hard way. After years of calling themselves fat, lazy and useless they were horrified to learn that instead of providing the necessary motivation they need to lose weight , these statements only served to perpetuate the problem.
The subconscious mind is your humble servant. It interprets these statements as direct commands and it will carry out these commands to the letter. So if you don’t want to be fat, stop calling yourself fat. Similarly, if you want to be happier pay close attention to the things you like about your life.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a daily gratitude journal is a great way to train your subconscious mind to attract more good things to you. Being grateful doesn’t have to be a chore. If you think about it, there are literally thousands of things you can be thankful for. Here are just a few:
- Your family;
- Your spouse;
- Your pets;
- Central heating on a cold day
The list goes on forever. Start by listing three things every day that you are grateful for. Try to think of three different things each day. When you are writing it down, spend at least 30 seconds really getting into the feeling of appreciation for each thing you have listed.
Buddhist teacher Rick Hansen calls this ‘taking in the good’ and he refers to research that proves that this activity, if done regularly, actually changes the neurological structure of your brain.
Appreciate Your Partner
How often do you actually take time to really appreciate or say thank you to your spouse or partner? People we love can sometimes become invisible to us if we don’t take the time to really reflect on why we have this person in our lives.
The simple act of saying “thank you” to your partner can really brighten up their day. People love to know that they are appreciated. It doesn’t cost you anything to tell your partner why they make a big difference in your life.
Practicing gratitude doesn’t take much time out of your day, but it will make a huge difference in your happiness and wellbeing, and it all begins in the mind. Get in touch with me on my Melbourne hypnotherapy contact page and I will explain what I can do to help.