So last week we received some bad news about an unexpected medical emergency in our family. This has meant my husband flying to England at short notice for a while. The snowball effect has meant that my next two weeks are not what I was expecting. My parents are flying in for a visit and we have a LONG road trip planned from Townsville to Bundaberg to watch our boys row.... All this is now happening without hubby. This whole ordeal, the bad news and the package it brings, has left me feeling a bit down and anxious, and if I am honest, rather cranky.
I was noticing my grumpiness which got me thinking.... then remembered that I have heard many times before how it is impossible to be discontented and thankful at the same time. I'm sure you've probably heard this before too.
BEING GRATEFUL/THANKFUL is guaranteed to make you happy!
So I decided to do a little experiment. I made a cup of tea and sat in my favourite chair with my journal. I started to write down everything I could think of that I am grateful for right now. Well, it worked! Once I had written a page long list, I almost immediately felt my mood lift and felt my grumpiness fade away!
So, how does this work?
Well neuroscience explains it like this. (I like the simplified version!) Studies have shown that gratitude boosts our brains levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Anti-depressants work by also boosting the levels of these same neurotransmitters. So then, gratitude can be seen as a kind of anti- depressant! Research further showed that it didn't matter if you found something to be grateful for or not...it is the act of searching for something to be grateful for that counts! Studies also showed that the more you practice being grateful, the less effort it takes!
A guy called Shawn Anchor is a happiness guru. He has studied happiness for many years and is the best selling author of "The Happiness Advantage". He suggests taking your gratitude-list-making a step further by sending a 2 minute "Thank You" email or text every morning, praising or thanking one person you know. Showing gratitude to those around you will leave you and others feeling happy too.
So, yes, happiness is a choice, and YES! There IS something you can do that is guaranteed to make you happy!
Enjoy your week!
1 Thes:5 "Give thanks in all circumstances".