Living In Gratitude: 30 Habits to Cultivate Happiness

It is an understatement to say that 2020 has been a challenge. We are experiencing unprecedented uncertainty and so much of life feels out of our control.

Yet there are still ways to seek happiness even while we collectively experience the grief, stress, fear, and anxiety this year has wrought.

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Living In Gratitude: The Science Of Smiling

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. ~Phyllis Diller

When we are happy, our natural response is to smile. But when we smile, is our natural response to be happy?

Its been scientifically proven that even faking or forcing a smile will minimize stress and makes us happier.

This was what psychological scientists Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman discovered when they had 169 participants produce one of three facial expressions:

  • a neutral expression
  • a half smile
  • a big, ear to ear smile

Only half of participants were told to smile.

Once their expression was ‘in place’, participants did a series of stressful, multi-tasking activities. The researchers monitored heart rates and self-reported stress levels while the subjects completed these various tasks. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Happiness

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

Happiness isn’t a material thing or even a place. We can’t purchase it and we can’t hop in a car or on a plane and go there.

Happiness comes from within. It is something we alone can create for ourselves. No one else in life is responsible for our happiness, nor are we responsible for theirs.  Read more

Living In Gratitude: Be In Love

Be in love with your life, every minute of it. ~Jack Keroac

Every moment of life is an adventure. As the unknown of each day unfolds, it offers unusual, exciting, and sometimes challenging experiences. Some days are amazing and invigorating while others can leave us overwhelmed and even saddened. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Appreciation & Encouragement

The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. ~Charles Schwab

Appreciation and encouragement are powerful. They bring out the best in others. They bring out the best in us.

When we encourage others and express our appreciation for them, we strengthen our relationships with those people. We validate others by noticing the things people do, whether it is for us or for others. Appreciation nurtures self-worth, an open heart, and happiness, to name but a few.

And, when we lift others up and make them feel good, we in turn experience positive effects.

Gratitude and feeling appreciated are integral to our own personal happiness as well as the happiness of others. We all feel more worthwhile and complete when we are appreciated and when we appreciate.

Encouragement and appreciation nurture:

  • Good feelings
  • Happy memories
  • Self-esteem
  • Deeper relationships
  • Increased kindness
  • Enhanced productivity and creativity

Take time to notice and appreciate the abilities, talents, and positive attributes of those around you. Watch how your relationships and happiness flourishes!

May your day be filled with gratitude and good things.

Gratitude: Candy For Your Doctor? How Appreciation Changes The Interaction

Appreciation can be a kind of wake-up call. It can spark aliveness and connection in both the receiver and the giver. Below is a description of a study that utilized candy to measure the response of doctors.

I liked the idea and put my own version to work:

Recently I visited a new doctor for my annual check-up. Instead of candy, I brought with me, as a gift, one of the Gratitude Habitat bookmarks. Written on it is, “Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot.”  My appointment was at the end of the day. Dr. S. looked a bit tired. As I handed her the bookmark I simply said, “Thank you for the work you do.” She stopped, read it, took a breath and shared a story of how the day before, she told her ailing father how much she appreciated him and how important it was for him to be grateful, too. They talked about what they appreciated about each other and about life. She said that his spirit was lifted and his voice grew stronger. Her facial expression and voice tone were soft and open. Clearly a special moment was created.

My new doctor said to me, “This is a perfect gift for me. Thank you.”

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Living In Gratitude: Be The Reason Someone Smiles Today.

Notice how many people you can make smile by spreading happiness, joy, and appreciation today.

A genuine thank you, a warm hug, a kind word, a cheery ‘hello!’ all make others feel warm and fuzzy. Read more

Living In Gratitude: Life Is About Creating Yourself

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Every day is a new opportunity. Each moment, we get to choose how we will act, what we will do, if we should explore, what our attitude will be, if we will be friendly or shy, adventurous or play it safe. Whatever we decide, take time to appreciate the fact that we have so many options, that we are able to create ~ or recreate ~ ourselves as we see fit. Go and create the most amazing you that you can be!  Read more

Living In Gratitude: It Is Impossible To Be Grateful And Depressed

It is impossible to be grateful and depressed simultaneously.

And when we are feeling down, one of the quickest ways to boost our spirits is to reflect on what we have to be grateful for. Even when our days are darkest, there is always something we can appreciate. Really.

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Living In Gratitude: Be Satisfied and Grateful

Being satisfied and grateful with what we already have is a magical golden key to being alive in a full, unrestricted, and inspired way. ~Pema Chodron


A few weeks ago, I hurt my elbow and had it in a temporary cast and wrapped from above my elbow to my wrist. Although I wasn’t in pain, I was restricted in my movements and generally felt very cumbersome. Suddenly, I was made acutely aware of how luxurious it is to be able to bend or straighten one’s arm, scratch an itch, reach above my head, and lie on my side. This incident made me appreciate the function of my healthy arm and elbow and all they do to make my life easier.   Read more