Deadlines, alarm clocks, kids screaming and constant demands are daily reminders that our lives are chaotic, depressing at times and never ending. Sometimes the only peace we have is when the clock chimes 11 p.m., the house is quiet and we crash onto our pillow for at least a few moments of rest. Yet, that 11 o'clock hour brings us a brief moment of happiness because we are at least grateful the day is finally over.
How can we capture that brief moment of happiness and make it last? The answer is gratitude. Science has proven with multiple studies that the simple act of gratitude can greatly impact our level of happiness. In a sweet and short video clip called The Science of Happiness — An Experiment in Gratitude producers put gratitude to the test. The video proves that expressing gratitude can increase our levels of happiness by as much as 14 percent. We all could use a little more happiness in our lives. Here are a few ideas on how we can incorporate gratitude into our lives.
Write a letter of gratitude
. Take a few moments to write a simple thank you note to someone who has influenced your life in a positive way. Better yet, call them on the phone and read to them what you wrote like participants in the video did.
Count your blessings
. Even when we feel the world collapsing, find something you are grateful for. Every time I place another bandage on another scrape or cut I find myself being grateful I have a child that can run and play.
Keep a journal of gratitude
This journal can only be used for the things you are grateful for. Everyday write at least one sentence about what you are grateful for. Yes, simply writing that the day is finally over counts.
Share the positive first
At the end of every day when we greet our loved ones share what went right for at least five minutes and then explain the bad. The first few moments we greet loved ones dictates how the rest of the evening will go so start with the positive. I made this change in my house about five years ago and I have seen the difference in how happy our evenings are.
Go on a walk
A breath of fresh air does everyone good. While you are walking be grateful for your senses. Enjoy the breeze on your skin, smell of flowers, and the beauty of the trees. At the end of your walk, take out your gratitude journal and write down what you saw, heard and smelled. Your level of happiness will increase and your heart will thank you for the exercise.
Emily Cottam is a proud mother of two and married to her love Dr. Michael Cottam. Emily is passionate about nature, family time, and creating the happiest life possible for her family. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree. She has been a teacher, accountant and auditor, but her favorite job is mom.