Last week, I was at my Mastermind Meeting and my good friend and Smart Woman, Chellie Campbell, mentioned that she had read an article on how expressing gratitude may be one of the keys to being a happier, healthier person. The very next day, I picked up a magazine which actually cited compelling research on how being grateful or showing appreciation can lead to a happier, healthier, more productive life. Hmmm… two times in two days? This got me thinking about how Smart Women practice gratitude.
When we look for new ways to up our happiness quotient, we typically go out and buy a new pair of shoes or a new purse. Maybe we go to the spa for a day. And when it’s time to think about getting healthy, the first idea that comes to mind is, “I need to exercise more and eat less.” The article I read in the September issue of Body and Soul was about a 9-week study conducted by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology where one group kept a daily gratitude journal and the other group kept a list of the hassles in their lives. At the end of the 9 weeks, the thankful group appeared happier, healthier, and had spent more time exercising—up to 80 minutes more per week. The other group stayed the same with little or no change in attitude or health.
I view myself as a grateful person. However, this article gave new meaning to this simple, but not always easy to follow, practice. It’s simple because all you have to do is think positive, grateful “thank you” thoughts. It’s not always easy because some days feel like a big challenge. When you are having “one of those days” (and ladies, you know what I’m referring to), it’s easy to revert back to “woe is me.”
I have found myself becoming a more grateful woman over the last few years. When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I was in the “pursuit of happiness” in the form of new cars, clothes, lavish vacations, etc. Now that I’m in my 40’s, I find myself more grateful for things that have less material value: walking my children to school, holding their small hands, enjoying a deep and meaningful conversation with my husband or a trusted friend.