Bad days happen. The alarm doesn’t go off, your toast burns, you get stuck in traffic. Then you log onto Facebook and see smiling Steve from high school who is just so #blessed. Lucky Steve.
Is Steve’s Life Better Than Yours?
It doesn’t have to be. It turns out that science says being happy has nothing to do with things going right for you. It’s about your attitude to whatever is going right (or wrong for that matter). And apparently, an attitude of gratitude is where it’s at. We are part of a world of around 7.2 billion people of which more than three billion live below the poverty line. Just by living in a developed country we have a unique set of gifts – most of us have access to food, water, shelter, healthcare and education. And yet we get silly about something like Steve’s stupid grin. Let’s cultivate a different perspective.
Stop. Think. Appreciate
Since happiness is mostly an attitude, here are three simple ways in which you can start shifting yours in the right direction.
Put it on Paper – Take five minutes every week to write down five things you are grateful for. Whether it’s appreciation for your significant other, or something as simple as not getting stuck in traffic, feel it and reflect on it.
Gain Perspective – Make a conscious decision to swing things around by turning every burden into a blessing. Too much work? Be grateful that you have a job. Road rage? At least you have a car and not a donkey cart. Stub your toe? Take a moment to appreciate your pedicure. Stick up brightly coloured post-its in your car, at your desk and in rooms throughout the house to remind you to do this.
Spread the Cheer – (And not just the Christmas kind) Gratitude is infectious – so be nice. If you do something nice for somebody and they show gratitude, it will make you feel more confident, more aware of your own abilities – and more grateful for your own blessings.
Once you implement these steps, you’ll find that you start appreciating the simple pleasures in life and you will even start to notice things that you previously took for granted.