Do you want to be happy today? Then I encourage you to ask yourself what you are grateful for today! Studies show time spent being grateful leads to happiness. Gratitude helps many ways.

For example, gratitude helps when you want feelings of being happy.

Happiness can be elusive. Pursuing happiness directly can often backfire. There’s a bit of an exception, though! Because practicing gratitude can give you those feelings of being happy on a consistent, persistent basis.

That’s right, simply examining what you’re grateful for opens you to experiencing happiness. Gratitude comes from paying attention to what you appreciate having as part of your life. That attention leads you to your own happiness.

As you invest time and effort in observing and appreciating, something about you changes. You feel grateful. That feeling begins to make a difference in your life. One way is an awareness of the happiness you are already experiencing!

Practiced over time, gratefulness becomes a focus. Gratitude becomes a natural feeling, part of your attitude and approach to life. Happiness is just one part of what gratitude helps you bring into your life. Gratitude leads you on a path of self growth, guiding you into a deepening appreciation of life.

You can take a quick peek at gratitude in your life right now. It’ll lift you up. Look deeper and it’ll last longer. Take notes on your feelings and you can revisit them and refresh yourself later. Write a letter to someone and your own experience of gratitude will impact you longer.

Let’s go for a little lift now. I want to help you feel better about yourself in a way that leads to happiness. Let go of doubt and allow yourself to open yourself to any kind of self-improvement that may arise for you right now.

Let’s start simply, by pondering what you appreciate.

Let’s begin with people.

I’ve found that the people who make up your world contribute a lot to your well-being.

Who do you appreciate being in your life? Does someone come to mind? What about that person brings you joy?

Who do you see every day? What do you look forward to most about each person? Who makes you laugh?

Who do you see on a weekly basis? What ways do they contribute to your life? Who delights you when they smile?

Who do you miss because you don’t get to see them often? How do you enjoy connecting in between visits – and how does that make you miss them all the more?

Who do you look forward to seeing on holidays, vacations or other infrequent gatherings of your community, your family, and your friends?

As a human being, the people in your life form you in many ways. Noticing what you appreciate about each person helps you see how your life is filled with meaning and purpose.

Who do you work or study with or otherwise interact with daily in creative ways? How is that hard? How does that very difficulty endear these people to you?

Who do you eat meals with? What kinds of conversations mean the most to you at mealtime? How can you bring that up today?

Who do you tend to spend the most time with in the evenings and on weekends? What activities help you feel more connected with these people? How does that make you look forward to this time all the more?

Who do you have much in common with? Are there communities you and these people form that you appreciate for unique reasons?

As you remember the people of your life, what memories bring a smile to your face?

In what ways do you interact that lift you up?

Who are the people you’ve remembered are in your life that you most appreciate?

What are some of the things you’re grateful for about those people you haven’t maybe focused on enough earlier in your life to be able to realize just how much you appreciate them?

Are there other people in your life you care about that come to mind now?

When you remember how you interact with the people in your daily life, do you find anyone you look up to?

Caring about people is powerful.

Do you have people who care about you more than you might have realized up until now? Who comes to mind?

As you remember how you connect with people, have you discovered anyone who acts in ways that are helpful for you?

I encourage you to reflect on your relationships with the people who make up your life.

As you do, think about how you’ve been able to support these people.

Remember the times you’ve helped each other.

Allow yourself to feel the appreciation you’ve had for each person, one at a time, searching out the special memories that touch your heart as you recall them.

Make time for a gratitude break each day, even if just for a moment.

Create a habit of gratitude and your life will change for the better.

I suggest building a habit.

For example, you might include awareness of who and what you’re grateful for as part of your morning routine or your bedtime routine.

Why build a habit of gratitude? While the benefits of even one session focused on gratitude can be long lasting, just like eating and showering, it’s not a one-time fix. I encourage you to make time to reflect on your life to observe what you’re grateful for.

Examining yourself for gratitude at various times of day can help you notice the experiences of your life. Looking around your home and other places where you spend time can bring other areas you’re grateful for into focus.

When you want to be happy, start by remembering the people who make up the times of your life now. Observe your feelings of gratitude for your connections with these human beings who form you in your life. Being grateful leads to happiness! I find that’s especially true during challenging times.

Author's Bio: 

Cynthia Ann Leighton inspires you to move forward.

While you're here, do you want to learn more about this topic? If so, here's a quick blog post to inspire you to have a personal growth mindset.

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