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Giving thanks can make you happier - Harvard Health

Thank someone mentally

No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you and mentally thank the individual.

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Giving thanks can make you happier - Harvard Health

Giving thanks can make you happier - Harvard Health

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

health.harvard.edu

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Key Ideas

Gratitude meaning

Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. 

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

Write a thank-you note

You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person's impact on your life. 

Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. 

Thank someone mentally

No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you and mentally thank the individual.

Keep a gratitude journal

Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you've received each day.

Count your blessings

Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. 

Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.

Pray

People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.

Meditate

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. 

Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as "peace"), it is also possible to focus on what you're grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).

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Things you feel grateful for

Identify 3 things that you feel grateful for and appreciate about your life.

These things can be based on the past, present, or futu...

Things you take for granted

Identify 3 things that you take for granted but are actually very thankful for.

This is the time to reflect and discover which of those you value the most. 

Things you appreciate about yourself

Identify 3 things that you appreciate about yourself.

Pick things that are meaningful. These can involve your personality, your qualities, your actions, or anything else directly related to yourself.

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Breathing Techniques for Muscle Tension Relief
Breathing Techniques for Muscle Tension Relief
  1. Stand up straight and bend forward at the waist. Bend knees slightly, letting your arms hang limply, close to the floor.
  2. Inhale slowly and deeply, and return to a stan...
Breathing Techniques for Side Pain

Practicing deep “belly breathing” can reduce the stress on the supporting ligaments of the diaphragm and can help relieve side stitches. 

Belly breath: Lie down on the floor and place a hand on your belly. Breathe deeply. If you feel your hand rise and fall slightly with your breathing, you’re belly breathing. If your chest is moving instead of your stomach, you’re not breathing deeply enough, and need to adjust.  

Breathing Techniques for Increased Energy
  1. Sit up tall, and relax your shoulders. 
  2. Keep your mouth closed and inhale rapidly through your nose with quick, short breaths (exhale quickly as well). 
  3. Try doing that for about 10 seconds
  4. Take a 15-30 second break and breathe normally. Repeat several times.

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Motivation affects your work
Motivation affects your work

No matter how passionate you are about your work, you will run into aspects of your career that you are not fond of.

Our overall experience is dictated by our mindset and approach we ta...

Consider Your Current Position

When we become used to the daily grind, we end up losing ourselves along the way. It is only when we approach work with the mindset of providing value that we gain a sense of achievement.

Ask yourself why you have this job. Does it involve work you are passionate about? Is there something you particularly enjoy about this work?

Map Out Your Future

Our future may be more exciting than our current situation. You can leverage that to your advantage by using it as motivation to work harder.

Use each job you hold as a stepping stone towards your goal. Your current position serves a purpose, whether it is to build your resume, teach you skills, or help you save money to look for a new job.

To keep you highly motivated, set a deadline, and break your goals down into smaller, achievable tasks.

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What Self-Care Means

Self-care essentially means tuning in to our true needs, and making them a priority, rather than neglecting them in favor of obligations or urgent (but not important) tasks.

The&nbs...

How We Start Our Day

How we start our day is key to our daily lives.

Practicing gratitude, taking things light and easy, listening to soothing music, and cultivating a positive mindset is the start of self-care.

It's The Little Things

Little things like focusing on your breath, some moderate exercise, taking care of your posture, relaxing with your favorite TV show

are great ways to do some self-care that they don't require any extra time, like a spa therapy or a vacation.

Wanting to control everything

By procrastinating, you hold the most control over whatever task you’re working on. However, this also means, obviously, that that particular task isn’t being done.

Seeing a task as one big project

Almost everything we do can be broken down into little manageable parts.

Take, for instance, the laundry. If the laundry seems like a daunting task to you, break it down into steps. Collect all your dirty clothes. Separate colors and whites. Put your clothes on a wash cycle. Put them in the dryer. Fold them.

Being a perfectionist

It can be tempting to put things off or delay completing tasks simply because you’re worried about the outcome being less than perfect.

Just remember that it’s okay if things don’t turn out exactly how you had them in your head.

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10 Behaviors for Happiness
  1. Let go of the need for specific outcomes
  2. Define your own success and happiness
  3. Fully commit to the things that make you happ...
Challenge Unhelpful Thoughts
Challenge Unhelpful Thoughts

Listen to your thoughts — but don’t necessarily believe them.

They're suggestions, possibilities. But they’re not gospel. You can’t control what thoughts pop up, but y...

Identifying Unhelpful Thoughts
  • Black and White Thinking: There are heaping piles of nuance to most things.
  • Unrealistic Expectations: Cynicism is bad, but a little skepticism is essential.
  • Selective Attention: If your brain is always looking for the negative, you’re gonna find it.
  • Disqualifying the Positive: Sometimes we go into problem-solving mode and focus only on what is broken.
  • Predicting the Future: “This will never work” or “They’re going to think I’m stupid.” You don’t know the future. So don’t act like it.
  • “Should” thoughts: It’s usually just an insistence that the world bends to your will and is a great way to amplify frustration.
Do More Stuff

Doing little positive things is better for happiness than occasionally bagging an elephant:

  • Enjoyable stuff
  • Achievement stuff: Defeat your goals in single combat and feel like a conquering hero
  • Meaningful stuff: Do volunteer work or just help someone
  • Physical stuff: Exercise. Not only keeps you alive, but it’s like miracle grow for your brain
  • Social stuff.

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Your brain is the sharpest in the morning

That is why mornings should be dedicated to the most important work: improving yourself and the quality of your life.

Morning routines and discipline

A strong morning routine develops self-discipline, good habits, and a stronger and positive mindset.

And the most important part of any morning routine is actually sticking to it.

Count your blessings

Spend 5 to 10 minutes at the end of each day writing in detail about three things that went well that day, large or small, and also describing why you think they happened.

Mental subtraction

You don’t know what you’ve got till its gone. 

Consider the many ways in which important, positive events in your life—such as a job opportunity or educational achievement—could have never taken place, and then reflecting on what your life would be like without them.

Savor

We have a tendency to adapt to pleasurable things—a phenomenon called “hedonic adaptation”—and appreciate them less and less over time. 

We can interrupt this process by trying the Give it Up practice, which requires temporarily giving up pleasurable activities and then coming back to them later, this time with greater anticipation and excitement.

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