Earlier this month, Zöe Paliare, a lawyer, podcaster, activist and transformational coach, talked about activating our capacity for happiness. She noted that research has shown a significant portion of our happiness is within our own control, with only 10% of our happiness derived from external factors. One of her favourite tools for shifting into more happiness is her theme for this week: gratitude. The more we express, feel and embrace gratitude, the more we are able to stimulate our own joy.
“The practice of gratitude has been proven to improve feelings of both physical and mental health,” says Paliare, explaining that when we shift our mindset away from wallowing and negativity and towards appreciation that we’re actually able to improve how we feel. “We can all benefit from taking a mindful moment, and really breathing in whatever we have to be thankful for.”
“We can all benefit from taking a mindful moment.”
Paliare recommends starting each day with a handwritten gratitude journal. "Nothing fancy. Just take a moment to jot down three quick things, people or places that you’re happy to have in your life. Then give yourself a minute to close your eyes, feel the gratitude in your body and allow those feelings to expand." Finally, she says, if the impulse strikes, reach out to a person you’re thankful for and let them know why you appreciate them—by making their day, and sharing the gratitude, the feelings of happiness will expand for both parties. Paliare adds that it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can skip a day, and it doesn’t have to be in the morning, but creating space in your life for gratitude will create more feelings of joy, and allow you to experience more happiness in your day to day.
“We know that gratitude is one of the easiest and quickest ways to improve feelings of mental and physical wellbeing, and it's free” she says. “What are you grateful for? Think about it, let it grow, and watch how good it makes you feel.”