What’s the secret to happiness? That’s a huge question, and there’s no singular answer. But we do know some things that can definitely help us feel more content. Studies show that close personal relationships and a job or hobby that ignites passion can make a difference. So can giving back and giving thanks.
In fact, if you want a way to boost your brain’s serotonin levels before 2023 wraps up, that last one — gratitude — can be a relatively easy place to start. There’s a lot of research connecting thankfulness and happiness.
How gratitude and contentment link
Being thankful literally changes your brain. It helps you build the habit of appreciation and looking for the good in your life, which creates different neural pathways in your brain. The more you practice gratitude, the more you are likely to find it.
A wide range of studies have found a link between gratitude and overall well-being. When you feel good overall, it’s definitely easier to feel happier.
Other research shows that gratitude can make you feel more optimistic about the future while also helping you get more out of your relationships in the present. Exploring what you’re thankful for in your relationships can make you feel more positively toward that person while also helping you feel safer expressing any concerns you have with them. And since healthy relationships play a huge role in overall happiness, this is just one more way gratitude helps.
3 ways to practice gratitude
All of this said, feeling thankful isn’t always easy, whether you’ve had a hard day or a hard life.
If you have a difficult time exercising your gratitude muscle, exploring these three different paths might help. Try each one and find which feels easiest to you:
Thankfulness for the past. Look as far back as feels comfortable for you. Maybe you reminisce about a favorite childhood memory or the fun times you had in college. Those key memories are threads that make up the tapestry of your life, so wrap yourself in them.
Thankfulness for the present. Try to drop into the moment and look for the good right here and now. What’s going well? What brings a smile to your face? What feels good in your body? Appreciating the present moment can help you feel more centered and content.
Thankfulness for the future. You can feel grateful for things that haven’t even happened yet. What plans have you made that get you excited? What are you looking forward to most? Taking a moment to feel thankful that you have something good on the horizon can give you a mood boost well before that event ever rolls around.
Practicing gratitude can be as simple as sitting and thinking. But if you want to dig in deeper, you can explore all of these options through a gratitude journal.
The trick here? Sticking with it. Make it a habit to carve out time to dive into what you’re thankful for. As you do, you should notice your happiness levels climbing up.
We’re grateful so we’re giving back
Over here at Doughp, we have so much to be thankful for. Yet another great year filled with delicious cookie dough, an amazing team that supports each other, and A NEW BABY!!!
We are so grateful for the abundance that we have, and that’s why we want to share it with others.. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, on Giving Tuesday (November 28 this year), we’ll be doubling our usual donations to the SHE RECOVERS Foundation on every order placed!
We’re on a mission to make the world a little sweeter, and that’s why we’ve partnered with SHE RECOVERS. They’re a public charity and a global grassroots movement serving more than 325,000 women and non-binary individuals who identify with women’s communities who are in or seeking recovery from mental health issues, trauma, substance use, and related life challenges. As they say, “We are all recovering from something — no one should have to recover alone.”
Thank you so very much for giving us so much to be thankful for in 2023. The happiness boost it’s giving us is sure to inspire even more delicious Doughp in the years to come!