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Gratitude Leads to Happiness: Here’s How

Gratitude Leads to Happiness: Here’s How

Gratitude, being nice, thinking positively — these are all things that are easier to talk about than to practice. Being grateful is a habit that’s worth cultivating. Try out some of the following gratitude exercises and, with time, you will feel more gratitude in your everyday life.

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”

Denis Waitley

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1. Write a daily gratitude list

Before you start your day, at the end of each day or whenever you have a spare five to ten minutes, write a list of ten things you’re grateful for. They don’t have to be big things — just look around you and ask yourself, in this moment, what am I grateful for? Clothes to keep me warm, a hot cup of tea, good company … ?  If you do this every day, I can assure you that after a few weeks, or even days,  you will feel much happier .

2. Practice mindfulness for 10 minutes a day

Try this one for at least a week. Set 10 minutes aside each day and really focus on where you are in the moment. Look around you. What do you see, feel, hear? When we live life in a strict routine, we can slip into acting on autopilot which can leave us feeling numb, ungrateful and bitter about life. Practicing mindfulness takes you out of this and helps you to see life in a brighter, more pleasant light.

3. Observe life objectively

This one is certainly easier said than done, but make a conscious effort to be as objective as possible. Is the person you work with really that annoying or are you blowing matters way out of proportion? Take a step back and try to view situations from the outside rather than taking everything personally. In the long run you’ll feel a much deeper sense of gratitude in your daily life as a result.

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4. Reflect on your day before going to sleep

Before you go to sleep each night, thing about something great that happened to you in the day that just passed. Even if you think nothing amazing happened, think of something small you were grateful for. If you can’t think of anything, keep searching. Even if it’s ‘I love this pillow,” hold that thought and spend several minutes reflecting on how grateful you are, then let yourself drift peacefully to sleep.

5. Observe your thoughts for a week

What do you think about for the majority of the time? What do you spend most of your time talking to others about? Are you aware of this? A lot of the time, we drift through life with no idea where we’re putting most of our energy. Spend one week objectively observing your thoughts without judgement. You might like to write them down, then reflect on the exercise after the week is up. If you spend the majority of your time complaining, make a mental note to change your thinking habits. With time, you’ll find yourself being less negative and more objectively positive. Remember, thoughts act as affirmations when repeated enough. Be mindful of what you’re intentionally or unintentionally manifesting.

6. Replace complaints with compliments

You don’t have to go overboard with this one — after all sometimes a person just needs to vent — but next time you open your mouth to say something unconstructive or hurtful, reverse it. Aim to give a compliment a day. You’ll feel happier and more grateful.

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7. Read Man’s Search for Meaning

This is the ultimate book if you want to know how to be grateful. Viktor Frankl, a world-renowned psychologist, who was trapped inside a concentration camp during WW2, helps us all to see that life is a choice and that even in the most dire of circumstances, you always have the freedom to choose your mindset. It’s a powerful book that really makes you reconsider your place in life. If you don’t feel more grateful after reading this, then I’m not sure what else to suggest.

8. Meditate on gratitude

Close your eyes.  Start by focusing on your breath to calm your mind, then meditate on something you’re truly grateful for or someone you care deeply about. This could be a  memory you’re glad to have had or something in the present moment — anything to bring your mind back to a state of gratitude. The key here, as with all meditation practices, is consistency . Spending five minutes meditating each day can make a big improvement in your happiness.

9. Write a gratitude letter

Write a letter expressing gratitude for someone or something that is annoying to you.  Try to be grateful for what this situation is teaching you–find the lesson in it.  this will help to turn your thinking process in a positive direction, and will help you to accept and learn from things you might otherwise reject.

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10. Realize that gratitude is a choice

You’re in the driver’s seat of your life, and you can choose how to react and how to think.  If you’re committed to positive thoughts and attitudes, you will be happier, healthier and more fulfilled.

Featured photo credit: Young happy woman relaxing on green grass. via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips

How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips

The brain is a tangled web of information. We don’t remember single facts, but instead we interlink everything by association. Anytime we experience a new event, our brains tie the sights, smells, sounds and our own impressions together into a new relationship.

Our brain remembers things by repetition, association, visual imagery, and all five senses. By knowing a bit about how the brain works, we can become better learners, absorbing new information faster than ever.

Here are some study tips to help get you started:

1. Use Flashcards

Our brains create engrained memories through repetition. The more times we hear, see, or repeat something to ourselves, the more likely we are to remember it.

Flashcards can help you learn new subjects quickly and efficiently. Flashcards allow you to study anywhere at any time. Their portable nature lends them to quick study sessions on the bus, in traffic, at lunch, or in the doctor’s office. You can always whip out your flashcards for a quick 2 to 3 minute study session.

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To create effective flashcards, you need to put one point on each flashcard. Don’t load up the entire card with information. That’s just overload. Instead, you should dedicate one concept to each card.

One of the best ways to make flashcards is to put 1 question on the front and one answer on the back. This way, you can repeatedly quiz yourself into you have mastered any topic of your choice.

Commit to reading through your flash cards at least 3 times a day and you will be amazed at how quickly you pick up new information.

As Tony Robbins says,

“Repetition is the mother of skill”.

2. Create the Right Environment

Often times, where you study can be just as important as how you study. For an optimum learning environment, you’ll want to find a nice spot that is fairly peaceful. Some people can’t stand a deafening silence, but you certainly don’t want to study near constant distractions.

Find a spot that you can call your own, with plenty of room to spread out your stuff. Go there each time you study and you will find yourself adapting to a productive study schedule. When you study in the same place each time, you become more productive in that spot because you associate it with studying.

3. Use Acronyms to Remember Information

In your quest for knowledge, you may have once heard of an odd term called “mnemonics”. However, even if you haven’t heard of this word, you have certainly heard of its many applications. One of the most popular mnemonic examples is “Every Good Boy Does Fine”. This is an acronym used to help musicians and students to remember the notes on a treble clef stave.

An acronym is simply an abbreviation formed using the intial letters of a word. These types of memory aids can help you to learn large quantities of information in a short period of time.

4. Listen to Music

Research has long shown that certain types of music help you to recall information. Information learned while listening to a particular song can often be remembered simply by “playing” the songs mentally in your head.

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5. Rewrite Your Notes

This can be done by hand or on the computer. However, you should keep in mind that writing by hand can often stimulate more neural activity than when writing on the computer.

Everyone should study their notes at home but often times, simply re-reading them is too passive. Re-reading your notes can cause you to become disengaged and distracted.

To get the most out of your study time, make sure that it is active. Rewriting your notes turns a passive study time into an active and engaging learning tool. You can begin using this technique by buying two notebooks for each of your classes. Dedicate one of the notebooks for making notes during each class. Dedicate the other notebook to rewriting your notes outside of class.

6. Engage Your Emotions

Emotions play a very important part in your memory. Think about it. The last time you went to a party, which people did you remember? The lady who made you laugh, the man who hurt your feelings, and the kid who went screaming through the halls are the ones you will remember. They are the ones who had an emotional impact.

Fortunately, you can use the power of emotion in your own study sessions. Enhance your memory by using your five senses. Don’t just memorize facts. Don’t just see and hear the words in your mind. Create a vivid visual picture of what you are trying to learn.

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For example, if you are trying to learn the many parts of a human cell, begin physically rotating the cell in your minds eye. Imagine what each part might feel like. Begin to take the cell apart piece by piece and then reconstruct it. Paint the human cell with vivid colors. Enlarge the cell in your mind’s eye so that it is now six feet tall and putting on your own personal comedy show. This visual and emotional mind play will help deeply encode information into your memory.

7. Make Associations

One of the best ways to learn new things is to relate what you want to learn with something you already know. This is known as association, and it is the mental glue that drives your brain.

Have you ever listened to a song and been flooded by memories that were connected to it? Have you ever seen an old friend that triggered memories from childhood? This is the power of association.

To maximize our mental powers, we must constantly be looking for ways to relate new information with old ideas and concepts that we are already familiar with.

You can do this with the use of mindmapping. A mind map is used to diagram words, pictures, thoughts, and ideas into a an interconnected web of information. This simple practice will help you to connect everything you learn into a global network of knowledge that can be pulled from at any moment.

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Learn more about mindmapping here: How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Featured photo credit: Alissa De Leva via unsplash.com

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