A recent research in the psychology of gratitude states being thankful might be the key to raising your happiness by 25%.
The new psychological research finds that people’s happiness levels are remarkably stable over the long-term. Irrespective of your current situation, whether you win the lottery or are paralysed from the neck down, your happiness level before any sudden or traumatic encounter may come back to you after about three to six months. You could return to your usual level of happiness, it doesn’t matter if you encounter good or bad experiences. But if you are always grateful, your level of happiness may increase by 25%.
While these findings are deeply counter-intuitive, they also raise a serious problem for those wanting to increase levels of happiness permanently.
Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington believes that a good way to make sure you are grateful everyday is to pray every morning.
In an inspirational speech to a group of young actors, highlighted in a video posted on Facebook, Washington encouraged the group of what appeared to be student actors to use their talent for good and never forget to pray.
“I pray that you all put your shoes way under the bed at night so that you gotta get on your knees in the morning to find them. And while you’re down there thank God for grace and mercy and understanding. We all fall short of the glory, we all got plenty,” he told the actors.
“If you just start thinking of all the things you’ve got to say thank you for, that’s a day. That’s easily a day,” he said.
In a book titled “thanks!”, Dr. Robert A. Emmons describes the research he carried out with three experimental groups over 10 weeks.
Before the experiment began participants had kept daily journals to chronicle their moods, physical health and general attitudes. These were then used to provide a comparison for after the experimental intervention.
People who were in the gratitude condition felt fully 25% happier – they were more optimistic about the future, they felt better about their lives and they even did almost 1.5 hours more exercise a week than those in the hassles or events condition.