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Habits for Happiness: Daily Gratitude

gratitude can improve health and happiness

We’ve all met someone with abundant gratitude or a contagiously positive outlook, but have you ever considered their mindset could be the result of a conscious habit? Research often focuses on the effects of negative behaviors, but new and exciting research is studying the effects of positive behaviors, namely gratitude. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley has focused their efforts towards funding research that studies the way gratitude can positively influence our overall physical health and happiness.

Gratitude requires that we remain mentally present so that we’re able to recognize the kindness and gifts surrounding us. This positive habit often evolves a step further by encouraging us to return the favor or kindness to someone else. While this habit may seem like a well-mannered no-brainer, you may be surprised to learn how underutilized it is in the workplace -- somewhere people spend the majority of their time. Ready for it? As little as ten percent of people reported showing their coworkers gratitude on a daily basis and a whopping sixty percent reported they never or hardly ever offer gratitude towards their coworkers, according to The Greater Good Science Center. Ask yourself if you could be showing your coworkers more gratitude? It can be as simple as thanking the person who always refills the paper in the copy machine.

Practicing gratitude on a daily basis is something everyone can benefit from. Research has shown that gratitude increases our feelings of happiness and life satisfaction, reduces anxiety and depression, strengthens our immune system, lowers blood pressure and allows us to get more refreshing sleep.

Now that you’re pumped up by the benefits of counting blessings, transform that excitement into a regular habit that will help you reap big rewards. Begin by creating a gratitude journal and dedicate fifteen minutes a day, three times per week to write entries. Focus on being as specific as possible for your gratitude list, and remember, quality trumps quantity when it comes to describing whom or what you’re grateful for.

For more great tips, head to: Greater Good in Action

Written by: Kelly Blasco, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern. Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by downloading our brochure.


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