“Some people are so poor all they have is money.”Anonymous
Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States. What a great reason for a holiday, but if you really want to raise your life satisfaction, every day should be Thanksgiving Day. In fact a regular dose of gratitude can increase your happiness more than winning the lottery. Sounds like hokey? Well here is the science: A University of California study found that the overall happiness levels of lottery winners spiked when they won, but settled back down to pre-winning levels after just a few months. Contrast that with a ten-week study by Dr. Robert Emmons. He got a group of people to write down five things they were grateful for from the past week. After ten weeks the group showed a 25% increase in happiness.
How can expressing gratitude increase happiness over winning millions in the lottery? It has to do with something called habituation. Have you noticed that when you get a new car, house, outfit or even romantic partner you’re really only exited for a few weeks, days or sometimes just minutes? 🙂 Not long after you get used to it, you take it for granted and it no longer provides you with the same pleasure. It’s the law of diminishing returns. Over time we tend to get less pleasure out of the things we have. So how can you create your own law of “increasing returns”? How can you sustain or even increase your pleasure? The answer is gratitude. When you give thanks you remind (bring back to mind) the thing or experience that originally gave you pleasure. In some ways the mind treats memory and reality in the same way. Think about something that makes you happy and you can get even more happiness than you did from the original experience. With gratitude you turn life into the gift that keeps on giving! I incorporate gratitude into a daily meditational practice called “Thrive” which I’ll be officially launching next year – watch this space! I’d love you to join me at one of my sessions.
Looking for a meaningful Christmas gift? Why not give the gift of a life-enhancing book or audiobook. My personal development novel Quest, Inc. has just become a finalist in the USA Book News Awards. Noeleen from 3 Talk calls it, “Inspirational … Unputdownable … Life-changing.” Alternatively you could give one or all of my 7 Life Coach Audiobooks now available in CD or direct download form.
“Your message has deeply inspired me, my family and my team. Thank you.”
Sandi Macfee, Director Revenue Management, Southern Sun Hotels