“Happiness is looking at the same things with different eyes” - Mark Williams
You might have noticed that the mind has a strong tendency to focus on what’s wrong -- what’s lacking, threatening, unresolved, and painful. There are good evolutionary reasons for this. The mind has evolved for survival rather than happiness.
Happiness takes training: it takes a deliberate daily practice of giving attention to that which is good, nourishing, and uplifting. Gratitude practices are one of the most powerful ways to cultivate happiness. These practices are both ancient and well-researched by psychologists.
Life only happens in the present moment. In this moment, there are many things we can pay attention to. We have a choice.
Often, we try to race through our moments to get to better moments. When we do this, we miss out. We don’t have to wait for the future for things to be better than they are in this moment.
Gratitude practices are designed to help us appreciate the beautiful things that we so easily miss and take for granted. They invite us pause and enjoy the small simple things in our life -- giving these things extra attention.
One way to practice gratitude is to set a time at the end of the day to recall what happened during the day, bringing to mind ten things you are grateful for. These could be associated with what you see, hear, touch, taste or smell. They may be associated to activities, hobbies, things, body parts, people, nature and animals.
When you bring to mind each thing you are grateful for, it’s extremely helpful to bring your attention to the sensations in the body associated with the gratitude. Tuning into the sensations,
them, and getting to know them -- doing this to amplify the sense of goodness and nourishment.
Neuroscientists suggest attending to the sensations associated with each gratitude for about 20 to 30 seconds, because this has been shown to strengthen the neural pathways of well-being - creating more easy access to happiness and open-hearted gratitude in the future.