Perhaps the easiest way to become happier is to become more grateful.
Want to hear something amazing? A study performed by Dr. Martin Seligman, one of the greatest proponents of positive psychology, showed that practicing gratitude for one week resulted in 92% of people feeling happier, and 94% of those who were depressed feeling less depressed.
In other studies, 90% of people found that expressing gratitude made them more joyful, 84% said it reduced stress, and 78% said it gave them more energy.
Here is the most amazing statistic: When you factor in all the benefits of practicing gratitude, it adds 6.9 years to your life. That’s right: regularly expressing thanks has been proven to have an even more positive impact on your health than exercising or quitting smoking.
In our research, having an Attitude of Gratitude was shown to mean more than thinking about all the good things in your life. As a matter of fact, everyone we interviewed would invariably point to a period of adversity or struggle in their lives as the time when they gained the knowledge, developed the relationship or built the skill or trait that ultimately allowed them to become happy and successful.
W. Clement Stone coined the idea of the “Inverse Paranoid,” a state of mind in which one believes that the world is conspiring to do them good. If you think about it, we can and should recognize all the experiences in our lives as catalysts for growth.
The power of gratitude is certainly not a new revelation. Anyone who has ever studied the human condition has understood it is an essential component of living a happy, full-hearted and successful life.
Read the following quotes about gratitude from across the span of history:
“Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln
“When one door closes, another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell
“Let your past make you better, not bitter.” – Ancient Proverb
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” – Aristotle
“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” – Art Linkletter
“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” – Bob Marley
“Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Suess
“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus
“Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” – Estonian Proverb
“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” – Franz Kafka
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” – Helen Keller
“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer
“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” – Kahlil Gibran
“Gratitude is the art of painting an adversity into a lovely picture.” – Kak Sri
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu
“Let not your mind run on what you lack as much as on what you have already.” – Marcus Aurelius
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Marcus Cicero
“Gratitude is the opener of locked-up blessings.” – Marianne Williamson
“Every negative event contains within it the seed of an equal or greater opportunity.” – Napoleon Hill
“The struggle ends when the gratitude begins.” – Neale Donald Walsch
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey
“There is no greater difference between men than between grateful and ungrateful.” – R. H. Blyth
“The only thing that can grow is the thing you give energy to.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be with what he wants.” – Socrates
“The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.” – Voltaire
“When life hands you a lemon, squeeze it and make lemonade.” – W. Clement Stone
“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” – William James
“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass… it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” – William Shakespeare
It has been said that energy flows where attention goes. The things we focus on are the things that expand in our lives. If we pay attention to the good and the growth, those are the things that will multiply. Likewise, if we focus on the negative, our lives may just become a downward spiral of suffering.
Let these words from the masters guide you to incorporate more gratitude into your day, and you’ll find yourself experiencing more joy and getting more of the wonderful things you want out of life.