Hi team,

Time to wrap up this crazy year and ease our way into some much-needed down time. But before we close the lid on 2020 and throw away the key, I would like to take a final look at one topic that has dominated my thoughts and reading over the last few months, happiness and how to improve your chances of achieving more of it in your life?

I have recently read three books that explore different aspects of happiness and they all reached similar conclusions, that to feel happy you must be content and grateful for what you have in the present, without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. So there appears to be a direct link between feeling grateful and contentment and feeling happy. However, our thoughts often don't allow us to acknowledge our good fortune because our minds are constantly fighting against feeling content and are rarely at piece. 

"Acknowledging the good that you already have in life is the foundation of all abundance." Eckhart Tolle
Psychologists have long believed that the human mind is naturally wired to overemphasize negative thoughts. The negative emotions we feel when we lose something are often far more powerful than the joy, we feel by gaining something. This natural mechanism is very good for competition and for survival but also keep us in a constant state of unease and stress. This helps explains why we are naturally attracted to bad news and drama. However, we need to keep in mind that these statements are generalizations and how well they apply to our own feelings and state of mind largely depend on our personality type and personal circumstances. 

In a recent blog "How to be more grateful” Mark Manson explained that some psychologists believe that gratitude is like vitamin D for the mind. A small daily dose of gratitude can provide an immunity boost that helps keep your psychological system strong and resilient. "the active practice of gratitude can protect our mind from the mental viruses of despondence and despair” No matter how bad things are at present, there are always places, societies or communities where things are a lot worse. Therefore, there are always opportunities to express gratitude.

The collective conclusion is that "Gratitude is THE skill of happiness" and like any other skills it requires constant practice.
So here are a few tips for developing and practicing gratitude.

  1. Make it part of your daily routine.
  2. Write it down.
  3. Share it with others.
  4. It must be genuine and sincere.
  5. Be vulnerable and self-aware.
  6. Use email and social media to spread your gratitude.

What better way to finish this crazy year with than a quote from Winnie-The-Pooh!

"Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude." 
AA Milne

Thanks for reading,
Stay safe over the holidays and bring on 2021.

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