According to Tal Ben-Shahar, a psychology lecturer at Harvard University, and lots of others (perhaps even your mother), expressing gratitude makes people happier. Those who daily write down five things they’re grateful for, according to Ben-Shahar, are happier, healthier and more successful than people who don’t. (Alternately, there’s another formula for happiness acknowledging genetics, events in our recent past and four basic values of faith, family, community and work.)
Expressing gratitude — that’s a simple discipline, isn’t it? Pause each day to write down five things for which you’re grateful. I can’t imagine it taking more than 10 minutes on most days. And finally, a good use for all those beautiful journals you’ve purchased over the years with great intentions … but never used. (Oh, wait, is that just me?)
If that pen-and-paper routine is “so yesterday,” how about using the website Thankaday? It’s a free online gratitude journal that allows users to record what makes them happy. A related blog offers all kinds of reflections on gratitude and happiness, including quirky videos and links to happiness articles and research.
So, will you join me in 2014 and become happier and healthier by spending time each day to write down five things for which you are grateful? We’re raising up healthy women and girls, you know, and this seems like a small investment with a great return!
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director. Today she is grateful for the blank slate of a new year, knitted socks, fresh rosemary, the giggles of a certain six-year-old and a strong cup of German Breakfast tea.
Photo by xtheowl. Used with permission.