Does Gratitude Truly Make You Happier?

March 19, 2017

Gratitude. It seems like the buzz word these days, but does it really make a difference to our overall happiness?

One night, not too long ago, I woke to a dripping noise. We had just been issued a severe weather warning and I could hear rain pelting the roof above. I paused and listened.

My mind raced. It can’t be! Stumbling, barely awake, I made my way across the room to the light switch and looked up. Water had accumulated on the ceiling and was dripping onto the floor. I lay awake that night, hearing every drop that fell into the bucket below. At 2 am, the mind battles with the negative. It sees only the dark. Things seem so much worse.

As morning came and light flooded the house, we talked it through. We knew now that there would be a solution. All would be okay. My husband joked ‘Well, we now we have our very own water feature’ We really did. I couldn’t stop laughing!  Suddenly, I felt so grateful for this moment. Laughing together, happy to be safe, warm and ‘mostly’ dry.

It is not easy to practise gratitude when we are hit with difficulties. It’s not our go-to response. There’s no logic in it. But when we are thankful, the hard stuff becomes a little less powerful. Good takes the foreground. When we are thankful, we give more power to that good. We give the light a place to shine through.

Harvard academics conducted a study where participants wrote down several things each day that they were grateful for. The research showed that those who practised daily gratitude were happier and more optimistic about their lives than those who did not.

Studies have actually shown that gratitude improves well-being, health and happiness. Just focusing on a few things a day can make a huge impact.

It is easy to imagine that people become thankful for their lives once they are happy, but this is not the case. Gratitude and thankfulness always come first. Thankfulness is where deep happiness comes from.

 

I love this quote by David Steindl-Rast.

‘It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”

 

Have you ever kept a gratitude journal or do you practise daily gratitude? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

6 Comments

  1. Reply

    Stef Dodunski

    Yay 🙂 I love your writing! Yup, we practice gratitude. I have the kids keep a gratitude journal. We haven’t been as consistent of late, this is a timely reminder, thanks!

    1. Reply

      Life Honey

      Thats heaps Stef, that is really lovely 🙂 Your comment is a great reminder for me too! Such a good idea with getting the kids involved. We brought the kids gratitude journals a while back and I haven’t been asking them if they are still doing it. Must get onto that. Thanks! I remember before one of our little ones could write, they created thankfulness pictures.

  2. Reply

    Suzy @ In the Lyons Den

    You always have such a beautiful way of writing things like this! Definitely agree with what you are saying. I recently started a little sort of series called find the goodness on the blog and it was all about days when it is hard, you can always find something no matter how tiny that you can be happy about and that was good. Often I find it is something in nature, or just a smile from the kids, or the lady in the shop that was lovely. I am trying to write these little moments down so when I feel overwhelmed or can’t get happy I remember I have so much to be thankful for. Can’t wait to read more on your beautiful, positive and inspiring blog xxx

    1. Reply

      Life Honey

      Thanks so much Suzy for your kind words 🙂 I love the gratitude series that you have been writing! It is such a good idea. I am really looking forward to getting to read a bit more now that life has settled after moving house. I agree, there really is good to be found everywhere. So true.

  3. Reply

    Di Griffin

    This reminds me of that lovely old song: “Count your blessings name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done…” I’ve never kept a journal – I have to confess that I really am hopeless at that sort of thing! For years I have tried to keep a prayer journal… but somehow after the first few weeks my good resolutions turn pear-shaped! I DO however try to begin each daily prayer with a time of thankfulness for the blessings received the previous day/week. And it really does give me a lift when I am feeling a bit blue!

    1. Reply

      Life Honey

      The song sounds so beautiful…. and really familiar. I know the struggle with sticking to journaling. Mine has become a very simple – three things I am thankful for – kind of deal – so it makes it managable for someone like me, who struggles to keep it up. I love that prayer/thankfulness is such a great daily gratitude practise too. I know that when I am going through something tough and struggle to know what to do, just giving God thanks, seems to change me and the situation. So amazing.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: