How Saying Thank You Can Change Your Life

How to increase your default levels of happiness

New insights in the field of happiness research have shown that most individuals have default levels of happiness to which they generally adhere. So even if something amazing or terrible happens that that has an impact on your mood, you will soon adjust to your new circumstances, good or bad, and revert to your previous default happiness level.

It is possible to raise your default level of happiness, but it takes persistence, because your conditioning will keep drawing you back to your usual state. A good place to start, however, is by generating gratitude more of the time. We've all heard the phrase "count your blessings", and there may be more wisdom in that advice than we realise. When we take the time to recall the things we are grateful for, and actively recognise our gratitude for these blessings, we find ourselves feeling happier.

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If you persist in making this a regular practice, you may see gratitude becoming your default experience of the world, thus shifting your base level of happiness. This is what I call an 'attitude of gratitude'. Here are two exercises to help develop it:

1. Count your blessings. Each day, write down what you are thankful for on a piece of paper, however big or small. Take the time to experience gratitude for each one, and delight in how fortunate you are.

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2. Say "I love this". Anytime you are feeling frustrated by, or less than grateful for, what is happening, state clearly: "I love this". You may be in the middle of an argument or stuck in traffic, or perhaps you're the recipient of an unexpected bill. It doesn't matter. Just say "I love this" and notice what happens. The event itself may not change, but your attitude will as you bring your gratitude to the fore.

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