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Quickest Path to Happiness

For many people, November marks the beginning of the holiday season. Not only is this a time to gather with friends and family, it is also a time to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for in life. Luckily, practicing gratitude is one of the most effective ways to be happier and healthier. Recent research out of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley showed that practicing gratitude for just 30 days raised subjective happiness in people by up to 25%. Not a bad payoff for something that takes very little time and effort to implement. 

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” –Marcus Tullius Cicero

Looking for ways to practice more gratitude in your life? Try incorporating the following tips from one of our 2017 Summit speakers, founder and CEO of Andrew Horn

Try a gratitude “meditation” when you wake up. One of my favorite sayings is that “we are not what we do, we are what we do consistently.” Establishing a morning gratitude routine that takes 30 seconds is one of the simplest things you can do to get your day off on the right foot. The attitude that we bring into our day will often determine the attitude that we have when we’re closing it out, so let’s make those first few minutes count. When you wake up in the morning, keep your eyes closed and ask yourself this simple question: What are three things that I’m most grateful for? Get those things in your head and you’re ready to start the day. Research shows that the power of 3’s is a powerful mnemonic device. This is why you should always aim for three things you’re grateful for.

Keep a gratitude journal. One of the most effective methods to cultivate gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Get a tiny notebook that fits into your pocket or use a free app to keep track of the good things happening to you. Here are some of the best tips you can use on your gratitude journal from one of the most respected gratitude researchers, Robert Emmons MD .

  1. Don’t just go through the motions. Research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky and others suggests that journaling is more effective if you first make the conscious decision to become happier and more grateful. “Motivation to become happier plays a role in the efficacy of journaling,” says Emmons
  2. Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
  3. Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
  4. Try subtraction, not just addition. One effective way of stimulating gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings, rather than just tallying up all those good things.
  5. Savor surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.

Gratitude meditation when you go to sleep. A 2011 study in Applied Psychology showed that people who express gratitude have better, deeper sleep. Before you go to bed, lay down in your bed, close your eyes and ask yourself this question, “What are three best things that happened today and three things I’m looking forward to?” Many people don’t realize that you can be grateful for things that haven’t happened yet. Anticipatory joy is an actual thing, just think about the feeling when you have a big trip coming up in a week.

By adding just one or all of these new habits into your daily routine you can change your outlook and shift your entire perspective to a more positive one. Take a stab today, there’s no harm in trying!

Did you enjoy this article? Are you interested in bringing these tips to your employees? Now you can easily share expert tips with your employees with WELCOA’s employee facing Life On the Move employee wellness portal. Not only can employees easily track their physical activity using devices, they can also access expert written wellbeing modules, compete with others, assess their current health habits and support their coworkers.

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About the Author

Andrew Horn is a serial social entrepreneur, speaker and writer based in Brooklyn, NY.  He is a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum and received the Mayor’s Community Service award in Washington, D.C at the age of 23.

In 2014, Andrew launched, which The New Yorker recently called “Hallmark 2.0.” Tribute makes it easy to create a video montage of a group of people sharing their love and gratitude for someone they care about on any special occasion. On top of our gifting business, Tribute is working with Fortune 1000 brands, leading hospitals and international NGO’s as an employee recognition tool.

He is on a deep mission to spread gratitude and meaningful connection in the world and is responsible for creating 100,000+ Tributes since launching. Tribute also closed a $1.3M seed round in 2016 and is planning large-scale expansion in 2017.

Andrew began speaking professionally at a young age, giving his first TEDx talk at age 21. Andrew is now a frequent speaker at conferences (United Nations), colleges (NYU) and for Fortune 500 brands like Google and MasterCard. He is a frequent contributor to media outlets like MindBodyGreen, HuffPo and TheMuse. He focuses his writing and speaking on human connection, gratitude and “The Art of Meaningful Conversation” – How to accelerate growth, connect with anyone and become the leader the world needs you to be.