My American friends and students celebrate Thanksgiving today, which is a great opportunity to think about gratitude.
I read recently that being grateful makes people happier:
Dr. Emmons – who has been studying gratitude for almost ten years and is considered by many to be the world’s leading authority on gratitude – is author of the book, “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier”. The information in this book is based on research involving thousands of people conducted by a number of different researchers around the world. One of the things these studies show is that practicing gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25%. This is significant, among other things, because just as there’s a certain weight that feels natural to your body and which your body strives to maintain, your basic level of happiness is set at a predetermined point. If something bad happens to you during the day, your happiness can drop momentarily, but then it returns to its natural set-point. Likewise, if something positive happens to you, your level of happiness rises, and then it returns once again to your “happiness set-point”. A practice of gratitude raises your “happiness set-point” so you can remain at a higher level of happiness regardless of outside circumstances.
Practicing gratitude, like practicing yoga, helps us focus on the positive rather than be afraid of the future, or what’s happening in the world. In your next yoga class, take time to be grateful. While you’re lying in savasana, think of some of the blessings in your life: health, loved ones, happy memories, small kindnesses. When you step out of the studio door you will be doubly well-equipped to face whatever the day has in store!
Share something you’re grateful for in the comments!