Why You Need an Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude is like a well-formed muscle - Use it or lost it Ed J. Pinegar

5 Reasons to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

The word gratitude has its origins in Latin, meaning gifts freely given. According to Dr. Angeles Arrien, author of Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life, the Latin root of the word gratitude is grata or gratia — a gift. Gratitude shares a common root with the word grace, which means a gift freely given that is unearned.

Robert Emmons, Ph.D., the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, describes gratitude in two parts. First, it’s an acknowledgement of the good things in life received. And secondly, it’s the recognition that this goodness comes from a source outside of ourselves. This can be a higher power, the natural world, or from social connections with others.

Benefits Of Gratitude

Developing a habit of gratitude is one of the best things you can do to increase your health and happiness. Gratitude is emphasized by all the great religious traditions and is an important component of many spiritual practices. We are now coming to understand what the ancients already understood about the importance of gratitude. Here are five excellent reasons to develop an attitude of gratitude that have the support of science as well.

1. Gratitude makes you happier:

If you are already reasonably happy, gratitude can make you happier. But it can also lift your mood if you struggle with depression. One way that expressing gratitude works is by creating a surge of “feel good” brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. According to gratitude expert Dr. Robert Emmons, gratitude may work by reducing underlying negative emotions such as regret, envy, frustration, and resentment. There’s evidence that the more grateful a person is, the less likely they are to experience depression.

Clinical psychologist Philip Watkins found that clinically depressed patients show significantly lower levels of gratitude (nearly 50 percent less) than control groups. Psychologist Dr. Deborah Serani, author of Living with Depression, reminds us that gratitude needs to be expressed all year round. She says, “Stopping to give seasonal thanks is a wonderful thing, but what’s even better is practicing gratitude year round. In fact, studies show that consistent positive interactions, particularly ones that involve gratitude, increase happiness and decrease levels of depression.”

Gratitude can make your kids happier, too. A study led by Jeffrey Froh, co-author of Making Grateful Kids, found that materialistic teens do worse in school and are more likely to get depressed. Froh believes our materialistic value system is to blame for a lot of teenage angst. He contends that focusing on extrinsic goals like image, money, and status does not fulfill psychological needs — even if these goals are met — thereby contributing to depression.

2. Gratitude improves your relationships:

Being grateful can help you make and keep friends, and strengthen relationships of all kinds. Gratitude helps you connect and empathize with others. Expressing gratitude can enhance marriages and make the relationship more resilient. Some experts believe that gratitude is the glue that holds couples together.

Research finds that grateful people exhibit enhanced brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). These are areas of the brain linked to emotional processing, interpersonal bonding, moral judgment, and the ability to understand the mental states of others.

3. Gratitude makes you a better person — at any age:

Being grateful can make you an all-around nicer, more likable person. Those who regularly express gratitude are less materialistic and more spiritual. They are less self-centered and have better self-esteem. Grateful people are more sensitive, less likely to be envious, and less likely to be aggressive or seek revenge.

This holds true for people of all ages. When children from tots to teens are taught to be grateful, it makes them happier and better students. They act more kindly and generously to both friends and strangers alike. Gratitude enhances their sense of responsibility toward future generations which makes them better stewards of the environment.

4. Gratitude makes you healthier:

Feeling and expressing gratitude can make you healthier and it may even help you live longer. It reduces stress and increases emotional resilience. It helps you sleep better, especially if you do gratitude exercises before bed. It even boosts your immune system. Grateful people are more likely to take care of themselves — to eat healthy, exercise, and take measures to manage stress.

One study had participants keep a short, daily journal. One group wrote about things they were grateful for, while another group wrote about what went wrong that day. Besides feeling happier, those in the gratitude group reported fewer health complaintsand exercised more than the group that wrote only to vent their frustrations of the day.

5. Gratitude can give your career a boost:

Whether you are an employee, entrepreneur, or business owner, gratitude can make you more successful. Forbes, one of the world’s most popular sources of business news, has dozens of articles about the importance of gratitude in business. Being grateful can increase productivity and enhance your decision making skills. It can make you a better manager and help you understand and relate to your customers, co-workers, and clients.

How To Develop A Gratitude Habit

Some people are naturally more grateful than others, but expressing gratitude is a skill that anyone can learn to do. The first step to strengthening your gratitude muscle is to pay more attention to life and the people around you. It’s hard to be grateful for that which you do not notice! A great beginner’s exercise is to keep a gratitude journal. Buy a blank paper journal or use a gratitude app like Gratitude 365. One typical exercise is to write down five things you are grateful for before you go to bed. If you are stumped, it’s OK to start with the most obvious basics.

Once you’ve developed the habit of keeping a gratitude journal, you can get even more out of it by writing specifics — the more detailed the better. A University of Southern California study found that writing five sentences about one thing you’re grateful for is more effective than writing one sentence about five things you’re grateful for. Study participants who wrote in detail reported feeling more energetic, happy, alert, and excited than those who wrote generalities.

Let others know you appreciate them. Gratitude works even better when you share it. Develop a habit of telling one person every day what you appreciate about them or thank them for a job well done. Again, it helps to be more specific than general. Instead of saying to a friend “Thank you for being there,” tell them “I appreciate what a good listener you are. You have such wise advice and I always feel better after talking to you.” Imagine how different you would feel being on the receiving end of each of these sentiments!

Most people take the good things in their life for granted. If you aren’t sure whether you are sufficiently grateful to reap gratitude’s many benefits, you can take this gratitude quiz developed by The Greater Good Science Center based at the University of California Berkeley. It will help you know whether you are in need of a “gratitude tune-up.” If you are still having a hard time getting into the gratitude mindset, this video featuring Brother David, a highly respected Benedictine monk, should help. You’ll find more of his inspirational videos at Gratefulness.org.

You can change your life, the lives of those around you, and even the world by being grateful. It’s not hard to do and takes less time than many other healthy lifestyle habits such as meditation, exercise, or even brushing and flossing your teeth!

Today’s Blog post was written by Deane Alban and is shared from the following website: http://reset.me/story/5-reasons-to-develop-an-attitude-of-gratitude/

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Let Gratitude Enable Your Ability to Soar!

TriumphI am always saddened by others who habitually feel sorry for themselves…not because they usually don’t have good reasons for their “blues” but because my experience has taught me that their lives would significantly improve just by taking the time to recognize their blessings. No matter how difficult our lives are, I know that we each are blessed! I believe that searching for and recognizing our blessings enables us to feel the strength of God with us more abundantly… that in itself is a wonderful blessing!

I hope you will enjoy today’s inspiring story!:

The Peace of ‘Enough’ During the Holidays

During this season of bounty, how should we define “enough?” Is there such a thing as enough love? Enough laughter? Enough money? Enough calm?

At first glance, we might be tempted to say, no—those positive things can never be truly fulfilled or completed to the point where we would say, “enough.” But if we reflect more deeply, we can imagine important boundaries that each one of those calls for in a positive, meaningful life.

Believing we can be loved “enough” means trusting the love in our lives rather than always feeling the need to chase or question it.

Laughing with deep, authentic joy is neither possible nor helpful to attempt all the time. Without “enough” laughter, we’d crowd out our other emotions, including the smiles that come from quiet joy more than giggles or guffaws.

While we all strive to better ourselves financially, finding contentment in the resources we have is an important part of living positively. If you still question the idea of “enough” money, just ask lottery winners, whose windfalls are found in multiple scientific studies not to affect overall senses of wellbeing.

Cultivating calm is a lifelong pursuit, but if we never feel calm “enough,” we will never find the motivation to act, to move or to assert ourselves in ways that free us to explore new possibilities for our lives.

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, strikes me as the perfect opportunity to reflect on the balance between “bounty” and “enough,” both in the contexts of the delicious Thanksgiving foods that we look forward to all year long and the emotional surge many of us experience during the holiday season.

As we tuck into our leftovers today, let’s remember to be grateful for their delicious gifts, but also for the deep peace that comes from knowing how to experience the feeling of being satisfied—knowing how and when to say “enough.”

Today’s story was written by Holly Lebowitz Ross and is shared from the following website: https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/life-advice/the-peace-of-enough-during-the-holidays

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It is NOT the Things We Have…Where to Find Happiness

It is not the things we have that make us happy. It is what we feel... George Albert SmithHappiness Through Self Awareness

Are You Happy?

Once we meet our basic physical needs of food, shelter, and comfort our life becomes about maximizing happiness. The challenge is that we often get lost or turned around on our path. We end up seeking many things believing they will bring us to that emotional state we desire. We may get the things, but not the feeling we want. We become disappointed as people turn out not to be who we thought.  Relationships can become the source of emotional drama, insecurity and heartbreak.   Exciting careers lead to disappointment, disillusionment, and burnout. Others may work hard to accomplish their goals only to find that they feel empty and unfulfilled inside.

The Path to Happiness Crossroads

When you take time to evaluate the direction and priorities it may be wise to consider how your thoughts and beliefs affects your happiness.  We have been conditioned to focus on external factors and have missed the most important element in determining our happiness.  Your mind is filled with assumptions, beliefs, and expectations of what will make you happy. These have been collected over years, both consciously, and unconsciously. They affect and even determine our choices in a way that we may not be aware.  Hidden assumptions and false beliefs lead you down road to disappointment, frustration, and other emotional reactions.   Even the beliefs that you agreed to consciously in the past about what would make you happy might not be true any more. What made you happy when you were 20 may not do it for you at 30. What made you happy at 30 might not satisfy you in your 40’s.

We change, our world changes, and yet our mind so often tries to stay the same. People in a mid-life crisis let their mind resurrect an old dream of happiness and feeling from their youth.   Or rather the beliefs of their youth.  A relationship becomes unhappy or even abusive and the mind clings to the joy of the beginning days coated with fairy dust. The beliefs in the mind of hope keeps us trapped in loops of emotional drama and dissatisfaction. Only by clearing your mind of false beliefs and assumptions can we see ourselves and other people more clearly. By freeing ourselves from the limiting paradigms of old beliefs we have a new opportunity to make better choices.

It is Possible to Change How You Feel

Awareness of the mind and how to direct its thoughts, beliefs and emotions, opens new avenues of possibility. Your life becomes vastly different when you are the one directing your mind instead of letting it direct you

Change Your Core Beliefs and You Change Your Emotions

When you express love, acceptance, and respect, you create pleasant emotions within your self. When you express judgments, fear, jealousy, and anger you experience emotional chaos. The challenge is to master your emotional expression. You are the only one who can determine the thoughts you think, the words that come out of your mouth, and the emotions you create and express. The thoughts, choices and interpretations you make are determined by your core beliefs. When you change your core beliefs you change the interpretations you make, the thoughts you think, and the emotions you express. Changing core beliefs is the foundation for changing the emotional quality of your life.

The power to change your life and create happiness resides with you. No one else can change what you believe and what you express. But you don’t have to figure it out on your own.

Self Awareness is the Key to Change and Lasting Happiness

The first step in changing the way you create your life is self awareness. We can also call it mindfulness. You can not expect to change what you are not aware of. Self awareness or mindfulness provides the clarity to choose whether you express emotions of love or express emotions out of reactions of fear. Self awareness provides the possibility to catch your self in that moment prior to saying something destructive, or thinking and believing a negative thought. Self awareness is the means to identify your unconscious patterns and raise them in your consciousness so they can be changed. It is through self awareness that you identify and change the underlying core beliefs that drive destructive behaviors and create happiness.

Self Awareness is Different than Book Knowledge

Self Awareness is largely a function of perception and observation. It can not be learned like academic subjects that fill the mind with knowledge.  It can not be learned from books that give us more information to think about and has us noticing less about ourselves, and the world.  Increasing awareness has more to do with emptying the mind of the incessant chattering thoughts so we can see ourselves and life more clearly.

Change the False Beliefs in Your Mind

Emotional reactions usually stem from your assumptions about how life “ought to be” not from actual events. You create assumptions about people, relationships, business deals, and stocks you invest in. Your false assumptions (beliefs) become the set up to future emotional reactions. Awareness provides the presence of mind to see the assumptions and false beliefs before you invest in them. Clarity allows you to perceive what is really happening instead of following the false beliefs of your mind.

Stop the Emotional Roller Coaster of Reactions

When you no longer live by the false beliefs in your mind you no longer have unnecessary emotional reactions. You can get off the emotional roller coaster that has taken you for a ride. With practice you can choose in the moment not to believe what your mind is saying. This allows you to see the emotional roller coaster coming. You can step back from it and watch it go by without you. You are no longer a victim to the emotions that try to control your life.

Develop Personal Will Power

Having knowledge of a “personal belief” or behavior and a desire to change it is not always enough. Take the smoker who knows their behavior is destructive, wants to quit, but is unable to break the habit. You may have behaviors and emotional reactions that you have been unsuccessful in changing. In this case what is lacking is not just awareness but personal will power. Recovering and developing personal will power allows you to keep your commitments with yourself and others. This is true whether the change is about addictions, emotional reactions, exercise, eating, or relationship habits. One way to recover personal will power is by identifying and changing core beliefs.

When you dissolve a core belief you no longer commit your personal power to that conceptual idea, or spend your energy on emotional reactions. The result is that you have more personal power to break other habits. With awareness you can not only see new possibilities for your self and your relationships, you now have the personal power to make them happen. Changing false core beliefs is just one way to increase your personal power.

Change in your Relationships

By living your life with awareness you will change the way you communicate in your relationships. You will no longer express yourself through the emotional reactions that come from illusions in the mind. You will have the choice and the personal power to express yourself with love and respect. By changing the way you express yourself, people will change the way they respond to you. Relationships are where our false beliefs, emotional reactions, and lack of will power combine to cause the most emotional pain in our lives. Relationship is the area of people’s lives where they yearn for the most change. It is the area where mastering our expression of love can have a profound impact.

Self Mastery through Self Awareness

There are many ways to approach mastery over your life. All of them involve creating integrity in your mind, emotions, actions, and relationships. To accomplish this you will need to understand and have control over your core beliefs, and your expression of emotion. At first glance Self Mastery over your thoughts, beliefs, and your emotions might appear too challenging. However, consider the alternative is to let emotional reactions from false beliefs determine the direction of your life.

Today’s article was written by Gary van Warmerdam and is shared from the following website: https://pathwaytohappiness.com/

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7 Common Habits of Unhappy People

Very little is needed to make a happy life, it is all within yourself in your way of thinking Marcus Aurelius

7 Common Habits of Unhappy People

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Marcus Aurelius

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Marcel Proust

Circumstances can certainly make life unhappy. But a part – often a big part – of unhappiness comes from our own thinking, behavior and habits.

In this article I’d like to share 7 of the most destructive daily habits that can create quite a bit of unhappiness within and in your own little world.

But I’ll also share what has worked, what has helped me to minimize or overcome these habits in my life.

1. Aiming for perfection.

Does life has to be perfect before you are happy?

Do you have to behave in a perfect way and get perfect results to be happy?

Then happiness will not be easy to find. Setting the bar for your performance at an inhuman level usually leads to low self-esteem and feeling like you are not good enough even though you may have had a lot of good or excellent results. You and what you do is never enough good enough except maybe once in a while when feels like something goes just perfect.

How to overcome this habit:

Three things that helped me to kick the perfectionism habit and become more relaxed:

  • Go for good enough. Aiming for perfection usually winds up in a project or something else never being finished. So go for good enough instead. Don’t use it as an excuse to slack off. But simply realize that there is something called good enough and when you are there then you are finished with whatever you are doing.
  • Have a deadline. I set deadlines every time that start with a new premium guide. Because about a year ago, when I was working on my second e-book, I realized that just working on it and releasing it when it was done would not work. Because I could always find stuff to add to it. So I had to set a deadline. Setting a deadline gave me a kick in the butt and it is generally good way to help you to let go of a need to polish things a bit too much.
  • Realize what it costs you when you buy into myths of perfection. This was a very powerful reason for me to let go of perfectionism and one I tell myself still if I find thoughts of perfection pop up in my mind. By watching too many movies, listening to too many songs and just taking in what the world is telling you it is very easy to be lulled into dreams of perfection. It sounds so good and wonderful and you want it.
    But in real life it clashes with reality and tends to cause much suffering and stress within you and in the people around you. It can harm or possibly lead you to end relationships, jobs, projects etc. just because your expectations are out of this world. I find it very helpful to remind myself of this simple fact.

2. Living in a sea of negative voices.

No one is an island. Who we socialize with, what we read, watch and listen to has big effect on how we feel and think.

It becomes a lot harder to be happier if you let yourself be dragged down by negative voices. Voices that tell you that life will in large part always be unhappy, dangerous and filled with fear and limits. Voices that watch life from a negative perspective.

How to overcome this habit:

Replacing those negative voices with more positive influences is very powerful. It can be like a whole new world opening up.

So spend more time with positive people, inspiring music and books, movies and TV-shows that make you laugh and think about life in a new way.

You can start small. For example, try reading an uplifting blog or book or listen to an audio book while eating your breakfast one morning this week instead of reading the paper or watching the morning news on TV.

3. Getting stuck in the past and future too much.

Spending much of your time in the past and reliving old painful memories, conflicts, missed opportunities and so on can hurt whole lot. Spending much of your time in the future and imagining how things could go wrong at work, in your relationships and with your health can build into horrifying nightmare scenarios playing over and over in your head. Not being here right now in life as it happens can lead to missing out on a lot of wonderful experiences.

No good if you want to be happier.

How to overcome this habit:

It is pretty much impossible to not think about the past or the future. And it is of course important to plan for tomorrow and next year and to try to learn from your past.

But to dwell on those things rarely help.

So I try as best as I can to spend the rest of my time, the big part of my time each day, with living in the now. Just being here right now and being fully focused on these words I am writing and later as I cook and eat my lunch and work out be fully focused on doing that.

Whatever I am doing I try to be there fully and not drift off into the future or past.

If I do drift off then I focus only on my breathing for a few minutes or I sit still and take in what is all around me right now with all my senses for a short while. By doing either of those things I can realign myself with the present moment again.

4. Comparing yourself and your life to others and their lives.

One very common and destructive daily habit is to constantly compare your life and yourself to other people and their lives. You compare cars, houses, jobs, shoes, money, relationships, social popularity and so on. And at the end of the day you pummel your self-esteem to the ground and you create a lot of negative feelings.

How to overcome this habit:

Replace that destructive habit with two other habits.

  • Compare yourself to yourself. First, instead of comparing yourself to other people create the habit of comparing yourself to yourself. See how much you have grown, what you have achieved and what progress you have made towards your goals. This habit has the benefit of creating gratitude, appreciation and kindness towards yourself as you observe how far you have come, the obstacles you have overcome and the good stuff you have done.
    You feel good about yourself without having to think less of other people.
  • Be kind. In my experience, the way you behave and think towards others seems to have a big, big effect on how you behave towards yourself and think about yourself. Judge and criticize people more and you tend to judge and criticize yourself more (often almost automatically). Be more kind to other people and help them and you tend to be more kind and helpful to yourself.
    Focus on the positive things in yourself and in the people around you. Appreciate what is positive in yourself and others. This way you become more OK with yourself and the people in your world instead of ranking them and yourself and creating differences in your mind.

And remember, you can’t win if you keep comparing. Just consciously realizing this can be helpful. No matter what you do you can pretty much always find someone else in the world that has more than you or are better than you at something.

5. Focusing on the negative details in life.

Seeing the negative aspects of whichever situation you are in and dwelling on those details is a sure way to make yourself unhappy. And to drag down the mood for everyone around you.

How to overcome this habit:

Overcoming this habit can be tricky. One thing that has worked for me is to kick the perfectionism habit. You accept that things and situations will have their upsides and downsides rather than thinking that all details have to positive and excellent. You accept things as they are. This way you can let go emotionally and mentally of what is negative instead of dwelling on it and making mountains out of molehills.

Another thing that works is simply to focus on being constructive. Instead of focusing on dwelling and whining about the negative detail. You can do so by asking better questions. Questions like:

How can I turn this negative thing into something helpful or positive?
How can I solve this problem?

If I am faced with what I start thinking is a problem I may use a third solution, I may ask myself: who cares? I most often then realize that this isn’t really a problem in the long run at all.

6. Limiting life because you believe the world revolves around you.

If you think that the world revolves around you and you hold yourself back because you are afraid what people may think or say if you do something that different or new then you are putting some big limits on your life. How?

Well, you can become less open to trying new things and growing.You can think that the criticism and negativity you encounter is about you or that it is your fault all the time (while it in reality could be about the other person having bad week or you thinking that you can read minds). I have also found that my own shyness used to come from me thinking that people cared a great deal about what I was about to say or do.

How to overcome this habit:

  • Realize people don’t care too much about what you do. They have their hands full with worrying about their own lives and what people may think of them instead. Yes, this might make you feel less important in your own head. But it also sets you free a bit more if you’d like that.
  • Focus outward. Instead of thinking about yourself and how people may perceive you all the time, focus outward on the people around you. Listen to them and help them. This will help you to raise your self-esteem and help you to reduce that self-centered focus.

7. Overcomplicating life.

Life can be pretty complicated. This can creates stress and unhappiness. But much of this is often created by us. Yes, the world may be becoming more complex but that doesn’t mean that we cannot create new habits that make your own lives a bit simpler.

How to overcome this habit:

Overcomplicating life can involve many habits but I’d like to suggest a few replacement habits to what have been a couple of my own most overcomplicating habits.

  • Splitting your focus and having your attention all over the place in everyday life. I replaced that complicating habit with just doing one thing at a time during my day, having a small to-do list with 2-3 very important items and writing down my most important goal on white board that I see each day.
  • Having too much stuff. I replaced that habit with regularly asking myself: have I used this in the past year? If not then I will give that thing away or throw it away.
  • Creating relationship problems of any kind in your mind.Reading minds is hard. So, instead ask questions and communicate. This will help you to minimize unnecessary conflicts, misunderstandings, negativity and waste or time and energy.
  • Getting lost in the in-box. I spend less time and energy on my email in-box by just checking it once a day and writing shorter emails (if possible not more than 5 sentences.)
  • Getting lost in stress and overwhelm. When stressed, lost in a problem or the past or future in your mind then, as I mentioned above, breathe with your belly for two minutes and just focus on the air going in and out. This will calm your body down and bring your mind back into the present moment again. Then you can start focusing on doing what is most important for you again.

Today’s article was written by Henrik Edberg and is shared from the following website: https://www.positivityblog.com/7-habits/

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Finding Happiness…Let the Sunshine In!

Keep your face to the sunshine and you will not see the shadows Helen KellerFinding Happiness: 11 Simple Ways to Get Your Smile Back

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ~The Dalai Lama

A while back my sister arrived for a family get-together and remarked, “Your mad laughter is missing. What’s happening?”

My mind trailed back to my childhood and teenage years and showed me images of a girl who could laugh easily, loudly, and madly.

Somewhere along the line I had lost my ability to laugh—truly laugh, with wonder and without worry.

At first I brushed it off because I didn’t even notice myself changing. The change was gradual, imperceptible.

I had come to take life too seriously.

As a child and teenager, I had disappointments. But as I think back, the hope for my future greatly outweighed my setbacks.

Of course, my future didn’t play out exactly as I’d imagined it would, and I encountered a series of disappointments.

My financial situation was far from great. My relationships went through turmoil and turbulence. I let them become set in stone and define my life.

I blamed myself for not being wise enough to make good decisions. I blamed myself for not being smart enough to catch my wrong decisions. I felt miserable. And then I blamed myself for feeling miserable, because strong people don’t waste time feeling miserable, do they?

I became angry and, even worse, I felt entitled to my anger. I felt horribly wronged. I directed my anger at people. I became less capable of experiencing joy, and therefore, giving it too.

Reading Tiny Buddha’s 365 Love Challenges emphasized for me how self-love is the beginning of the expression of love toward everyone else in our world. Still, it’s not always easy to be good to ourselves.

The inner critic is the most active when we need that voice to be appreciative and loving. Instead of spending more time understanding ourselves, we indulge in self-bashing, self-abuse, and harsh judgments about ourselves.

It takes some serious mindfulness and awareness to turn that around.

So, after a few more observations from people who thought I mattered enough to give me feedback about my attitude, I decided to observe my thoughts and myself.

I began to think of what made me feel better, and what helped me keep the feeling longer, so I could get my smile back.

After months of watching myself, I saw that a few things helped me consistently.

1. Being aware of physical and emotional triggers.

I started paying attention to my body. My health had a big effect on my mood, and vice versa. I starting eating what would calm my stomach and keep my body at ease.

Things like procrastinating made me feel bad about myself, so I kept up my schedule with greater caution. I also learned to avoid over-scheduling myself so I didn’t have things piling up, making me feel inefficient and inadequate.

Your body is constantly giving you signals even when you are trying hard to ignore it, so start paying attention.

2. Being aware of reactions.

I started focusing on the results rather than on the source of the problem. If things did not go as planned, I consciously avoided looking to fix the blame and looked at fixing the problem. I felt less overwhelmed and more in power. It also made me more approachable.

Develop the mindset to look for solutions, and avoid “if-only” thinking, since this only keeps you stuck.

3. Dressing up.

No matter how I felt, I always felt better when I got up and freshened up. Wearing well-fitted clothes, clothes that I liked, made me look better and, therefore, feel better about myself almost instantly.

There is a whole lot of science about dressing the part, so pick colors that will soothe and accentuate you own personality.

4. Following a ritual.

The simple act of following a ritual—any ritual—gave me a sense of stability and grounding.

Following a ritual that aligned with my beliefs and values made me calmer and more in control over other areas in my life.

I chose the ritual of mantra chanting before having my first meal in the morning, and that uplifted me immensely, giving me the assurance that I could change other areas of my life too.

5. Smiling more.

We smile when we’re happy, right? Wrong! Studies have shown that our external expressions act as a continual feedback loop reinforcing our internal emotions. So, smiling more even when we are unhappy gradually makes us feel happier.

True to this, smiling at strangers while standing in a queue or during a walk made me look beyond my world. To put it simply, it made me feel good, and I kept at it. Not to mention that smiling through a bad situation automatically seemed to defuse it.

Take time to do things that give you more scope for “happy-time,” like seeking the company of children, listening to music, dancing, cooking, reading, cleaning—anything that makes you feel like yourself.

6. Talking to somebody who loves you.

One afternoon, when I was recovering from an intense anger bout, my father called. I did everything I could to hide my anger from him. But during the conversation, he referred to an incident in my childhood and said, “You are always so childlike.”

It threw me off. Here I was, bashing myself for being angry and hurt, and feeling even more angry and hurt for not being able to control it, but a simple conversation with my father reminded me that I wasn’t always this way. The fact that he remembered it so fondly made me like myself. It made me want to let go and try again.

Make time for your old friends, your parents, your friends’ parents, and siblings—anybody who has been a part of your past who sees the best in you.

7. Being kinder.

Formerly, I had the tendency to show indifference to people with whom I was angry (and not necessarily engage in a war of words or palpable anger). However, it still made me miserable, irrespective of whether they noticed it or not. When I consciously resisted the urge to be indifferent to them, I felt more in control.

A kind exchange has the power to set the tone for your day. Kindness is not restricted to a physical exchange; even a gentle conversation over the phone or a kind email made me significantly happier.

There are hundreds of studies to show that kindness can impact your brain in a powerful way and increase your feeling of connectedness.

8. Making that decision.

After accidentally discovering my passion for writing about three years ago, I continued to put up with a stressful job and kept putting off my plans to start doing something that filled my soul.

Making the decision to quit and re-focus wasn’t easy. But making up my mind and letting go felt like I was clearing stale clutter and starting afresh in my mind. I felt invigorated, though it was hard work.

If you are on the brink of a major decision, making it one way or the other will be a great emotional leveler.

9. Starting somewhere.

I kept putting off my plans because it was not yet there—in my mind. In short, I was afraid of showing my imperfect side to the world. In reality, I was only judging myself.

Waiting for the perfect time to start/launch something is a mistake we all make. Even nature took billions of years to be where it is today. And it will continue to evolve for billions of years from now. Then, why do we have to be perfect today?

10. Breaking the negative thought pattern.

Every time I felt angry with somebody, it was because I associated something negative with him or her.

I started consciously associating positive things with them, like remembering the skill they are really good at or the one time they helped me or somebody else, and the negativity seemed to melt away. Of course, it kept coming back, but the more I countered it with positive thoughts, the less power it seemed to have.

So, the next time you are really annoyed with somebody, try remembering a nice thing about him or her. It makes a world of difference.

11. Remembering that everyone is only human, and that includes yourself.

Forgiveness contributes greatly to our well-being, fulfillment, and happiness. There is really nobody in the world who hasn’t been hurt or let down by somebody they trusted, or at least wishes they had been treated differently.

Everyone—that includes yourself and the people that hurt you—is only standing at one single point in the huge learning curve of life, and our actions spring from what we are exposed to from that particular vantage point. Understanding this was a huge milestone for me in learning forgiveness.

To seriously learn forgiveness as a life skill, spend more time with kids. They are the only people who unerringly practice the art.

To sum it up, for renewed happiness: Invest in yourself, take time to understand yourself, be gentle to yourself, do the things you love and, most importantly, give yourself time to heal, no matter how much it hurts!

Today’s article was written by Devishobha Chandramouli and is shared from the following website: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/finding-happiness-11-ways-get-your-smile-back/

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