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5 little tips for a happy life that starts today

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“Gratitude is when the memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.”
Lionel Hampton

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; it is the charming gardeners who make our souls bloom.”
Marcel Proust

Perhaps the easiest and most effortless habit to live a happier life is to take one or a few minutes every day to focus on what is already there and what you can be grateful for in your life.

It can help you to…

  • Improve your mood and increase motivation very quickly.
  • Find the things in your life that you want to spend more time and energy on.
  • Not just taking things for granted and finding joy even in the tougher times.

It’s just a great habit to cultivate that demands little but gives back a lot.

So this week I’d like to explore five little tips you can use to cultivate more gratitude and happiness in your life.

1. Pause and look around you.

A simple first step to building the habit of gratitude is to simply take a break from your daily life and ask yourself questions like:

  • What can I be grateful for in my life today?
  • What three people can I be grateful to have in my life and why?

If you can’t think of several things or people every day, that’s no problem. If you find one thing or one person, that’s great too. Don’t get hung up on the numbers.

Just take a few minutes and see what you come up with.

Try not to repeat the same things too often. Instead, try to think of more things and people to be grateful for in your life.

2. Look at yourself.

Don’t just look outside.

Also take a look at yourself. A habit of appreciation and gratitude towards yourself is a simple way to do that improving self-esteem and self-confidence.

Ask yourself:

What are 3 things about myself that I can be grateful for?

It may be that you were a good father/mother/friend in a moment of crisis this week. You may finally be done with the task you’ve been putting off.

Your self-gratitude doesn’t just have to be about performance at work or at school, for example.

You can simply be grateful for your good sense of humor or for the fact that you help people a lot by being a good listener every now and then.

3. Take a closer look at the very smaller things or at what you may take for granted.

Don’t just focus on the big and obvious things you can be grateful for.

Think about all the little things you can be grateful for.

Like the plant right in front of my laptop on which I write these words.

It is not a special plant. But its simple beauty in the vibrant green color, how it continues to grow on just a little water and sunshine and the faint scent of nature, is something simple that I am grateful for.

Another thing I’m grateful for today – that I sometimes take for granted – was my lunch. It was a few potatoes with some grilled chicken and a dollop of sauce. It was delicious.

And most importantly, I don’t have to go hungry. I am in the fortunate position of being able to have lunch every day.

Ask yourself:

  • What is one very small thing I can be grateful for today?
  • What is something that I normally take for granted and can be grateful for?

By opening your eyes to the small, everyday things that you can appreciate, you can truly see more of the simple beauty of life.

4. Do it early or late in the day.

But how do you ensure that the habit of gratitude sticks and doesn’t just become one of those things that you forget or abandon after a few days?

Two things I have found effective are:

  • Take 1 minute in the morning to start your day right by finding 3 small or big things you are grateful for in your life.
  • Take 1-2 minutes every evening and use a journal to write down maybe 3 or 5 things you are grateful for about your day, about yourself, or about your life.

Try one of these small time commitments every day for a week and see how it affects your thoughts, feelings, and life.

5. Express your gratitude.

Don’t keep gratitude just inside. Express it.

Make other people happier too – and maybe help them repay it later – by expressing how grateful you are to have them in your life.

Plus, their smile and the joy in their eyes when you tell them this will make you happier too.

That gratitude could be just a small sentence. But it can sometimes have a major impact on someone’s day, week or even life.

So tell the people in your life.

Tell them personally tonight. Or write an email or a letter to someone a little further away in the world. Or send a small text message right now.

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