Gratitude is the number one indicator of people I like. Really. Looking back at all of my relationships, the people I am the closest with are the ones who are the most grateful. It causes me to pause and ask myself two things:
Interestingly, these people also are great performers. They perform professionally, emotionally, socially, physically, and with family. They succeed because they learn and grow.
Success is about not only about results, It is about fulfillment. It is about learning from setbacks and striving for constant progress. It is about taking what you have — what you have been given — and making the most with it. We perform better when we are fulfilled. Performance is about living up to your capabilities. Performance is about execution. Having an idea or strategy and then finding a way to get it done. Often we look at the hard skills need to perform, yet your emotional state is just as important.
Positive Psychology is an academic field that studies happiness. According to positive psychologists Ken Sheldon and Sonja Lyubomirsky, there is research that says that up to 40 percent of your happiness comes from activities that you choose to do. When you are happier, you perform better in all aspects of your lives. Your work product improves. Your relationships get strengthened.
“When we are happy-when our mindset and mood are positive-we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the center, and success revolves around it.” — Shawn Achor
Another leading researcher in this field, Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, tested the impact of various positive psychology interventions on 411 people, each compared with a control assignment of writing about early memories. When their week’s assignment was to write and personally deliver a letter of gratitude to someone who had never been properly thanked for his or her kindness, participants immediately exhibited a huge increase in happiness scores. This impact was greater than that from any other intervention, with benefits lasting for a month.
In the search for uncovering the secret to happiness, positive psychology keeps returning to the same concept: gratitude. In multiples studies, researchers have found that if people are purposefully engaged in trying to become more grateful, they are more likely to become happier. Gratitude is a feeling. It is an emotion we choose to have based on our willingness to appreciate the good that is around us.
Showing gratitude privately and publicly creates happiness. In my life, I have found that people who do certain things are able to experience increased levels of happiness through gratitude.
Three ways to develop gratitude:
Being constantly happy is not realistic or even practical. We need adversity. Our well-being is determined by the meaning we give to each situation. We can choose to feel happy based on actions we take. Pain and struggle are vital for growth and mastery. The meaning we apply to the pain is what really determines our happiness. If we can be thankful for the experiences and appreciate what is happening, we then are in control over our personal happiness.
Tell others you appreciate them. Recognize the negative then choose to move past it and ignore the impact of negative thoughts.
You will develop gratitude. You will find more happiness.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on March 16, 2016.
Originally published at medium.com