Gratitude and Habits
Did you learn habits such as gratefulness, kindness, mindfulness, optimism, appreciation, exercise and service at primary school?
I know I certainly didn’t.
Learning such habits is what I like to refer to as:
- Planting the seed – developing positive habits in primary years
- Cultivate – promote the positive habits by implementing in daily lives
- Harvest – reap the rewards as an adult
Scientists have proved in many studies that gratitude leads to happiness and happiness leads to success. It does not matter the age of a person; it is never too early or too late to form “habits of happiness”.
One particular 2003 study by Robert Emmons indicated that gratitude is not merely a positive emotion; it also improves your health if cultivated. People must give up a “victim mentality” and overcome a sense of entitlement and deservedness.
Positive Psychologist Shawn Achor speaking on gratitude says, you will experience significant improvements in several areas of life including relationships, academics, energy level and even dealing with tragedy and crisis.
In further research, Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami found that by writing about gratitude people:
- felt more optimistic about their lives
- exercised more
- had less visits to the doctor
Compared to people who wrote about irritations and things that had affected them.
I often refer to Positive Psychologist Shawn Achor as he has written an outstanding book The Happiness Advantage.
In his book, Achor not only believes gratitude leads to happiness; he also has discovered happiness leads to success. His research shows the real problem is people believe success will lead to happiness, when in fact our brains work in the opposite way.
When our brain is filled with positivity in the present our brain experiences what Achor describes as a happiness advantage, where our brain performs significantly better than when our brain is negative, neutral or stressed.
Achor’s research found when we are filled with positivity our:
- intelligence rises
- creativity rises and energy levels rise
- brains are 31% more productive at positive than when negative, neutral or stressed
- brain is filled with dopamine, it not only makes us happy, it turns on all the learning centres in our brain.
Growing with Gratitude has based some daily activities around Achor’s research. Such as:
Nomination Box: On a slip of paper write a random act of kindness you have recently witnessed by a fellow student then place it in the box. Read them out.
Gratitude is Great: Record three things you are grateful for in your Gratitude Journal.
Fitness Freaks: Choose a short activity to do together e.g. run around the oval, complete 50 star jumps, or have a hand- stand competition.
Daily Habits of Happiness
I would love to share with you my daily “Habits of Happiness”.
My Daily Happy Habits have had a monumental impact on my life in a positive way.
Before I share my Happy Habits I would just like to mention my day is not finished until I have completed my Habits of Happiness.
I have based my habits from Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage.
- Journal for 2 minutes a day about one positive experience I have had over the past 24 hours. Every positive detail.
- Meditate Daily – minimum of 5 minutes, trains brain to focus where I want it to. Head Space is an awesome meditation APP
- Do a random act of kindness over the course of each day. Ideas
- Exercise for 30 minutes daily
- Read at least 10 pages of a personal growth book. Always a book I think I can take something away from and apply it in my life
- Plus 1 weekly: Every Sunday I write 5 things I am grateful for
- Plus 1 monthly: Once a month I volunteer at Fred’s Van (Fred’s Van provides meals for people who perhaps are less fortunate)
- Bonus: Play a audio book in your car. Many books are on CD or can be downloaded to audio. Instead of listening to the radio, you can basically give yourself a University degree while driving. Even the kids may enjoy it or maybe not. I always have a audio book with a positive message playing
This may seem time consuming but it actually isn’t.
Break it down across a day and it fits in easily.
Organisation is the key.
What are your daily habits of happiness?
Please share in comments.