We should all be grateful, based simply on the fact that we live in such an amazing place.
But so often we lose sight of all that we have, stressed out by busy lives that can leave us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. So how can we use gratefulness to help us appreciate all that we have and, as a result, start feeling better about our lives.
It’s proven that people who regularly practise gratitude are happier, more productive and have better relationships with the people around them.
But to get the biggest bang for your gratitude buck, you need to make it a habit.
Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, talks about ‘flourishing’ in his latest book. His concept is simple. Seligman says we shouldn’t settle for just eliminating bad feelings (“getting back to zero”). He says we should be striving for happiness!
We can all agree with that, but how? Positive Psychology provides a more detailed roadmap, but since you have to start somewhere let’s go with gratitude.
Seligman recommends a simply daily practice he calls ‘Hunting for Good’.
Here’s how it works.
Simply sit down in a quiet place and think about the day gone by. But think about it differently. Think of three good things that happened that day. In other words, Go Hunting for Good!
When your brain takes on this task, it can’t think about the nasty traffic jam that had you cursing out loud. Your brain won’t be thinking about your argument with a colleague at work, or the lack of recognition from your boss for a job well done.
Your brain will rise happily to the challenge of identifying three happy moments. The satisfying taste of the cheese omelette you had for breakfast. The warm thank you for holding the door for someone. Seeing the smile on your kid’s face when you walked through the door after work. The hug and kiss your spouse gave you on the way out the door. The setting sun streaming through the trees on your after-dinner walk.
Start Hunting for Good, and commit to it for six weeks. If you do it just before bed, promise you will feel better, and enjoy your days more than ever before.
I am now noticing the ‘good’ moments as they happen, and the bad ones don’t seem nearly as important as they once did. And at the end of the day I’ve got something to look forward to. I hate to say it, but Hunting for Good is kind of addictive.
Gordon Green is a professional coach who helps others tap into their greatest strengths to create fulfilling and happier lives.