Happiness is more than having a positive mood. It is a sense of well being that includes living a good life with a sense of meaning and contentment. For the better part of the 20th century, Psychology has directed its focus on the maladies of the mind. Tremendous research has been done to better understand what causes depression, anxiety, and various phobias, as well as what can cure those conditions. In the 1990’s a new branch of psychology came about, called positive psychology, and it was dedicated to discovering what makes us happy. This is important because everything we do in our lives is aimed at achieving greater happiness.
After fifteen years of research, it was discovered that gratitude is a key to happiness. Gratitude is also good for one’s physical health. It was discovered that people of all ages, from all over the world, who had a grateful disposition had fewer health complaints and experienced a quality night's sleep. Grateful people also recovered from major illnesses much quicker and experienced less stress in their lives.
A study was done on a group of college kids where half the group kept a gratitude journal for two weeks and the other half didn’t. The ones who kept the gratitude journal reported better physical health plus fewer headaches, less stomach pain, clearer skin, and reduced congestion. This is a simple activity we all can engage in to increase our happiness and well being. Once a day, for two weeks, write down three things you are grateful for. Arouse your gratitude for all the little things you seem to pass over or the things you have never noticed. When we become aware of the multitude of things that exist to be grateful for, we discover a never ending supply.