Positive Psychology: The Pursuit of Happiness

December 18, 2013

What makes us feel happy? Is it earning that bonus at work or finally taking that vacation? Most of us could agree that more money, a better job, or a fun night out with friends all constitute as welcomed sources of happiness. Yet with busy schedules and chaotic days, we sometimes overlook the simple things that can fill our hearts with joy and satisfy our souls.

Upworthy, one of my favorite go-to websites for all things positive and uplifting, recently shared a video from Soul Pancake that I simply cannot watch without shedding a few tears. The video highlights a study which claims that one of the most significant contributing factors to overall happiness is how much gratitude a person shows. To put this study to the test, the great minds at Soul Pancake called on volunteers and had them take an exam measuring their general levels of happiness. After this test, the participants were told to think of someone who had played an influential role in their lives. They were then instructed to list the reasons why they considered that person particularly amazing. Surprisingly, the experiment concluded when scientists asked the volunteers to call their role models and read aloud what they had written. It is at this point in the video—when the phones begin to ring—that I start to get teary eyed.

Some of the loved ones called included a supportive sister, a loving mother, and a college accounting instructor known for his enthusiasm and who has since passed away. After volunteers verbally expressed their immense gratitude, they were given a similar test meant to once again measure their level of happiness. As the original study confirmed, happiness levels sky rocketed.

This video evokes such an emotional response from most viewers because every person has someone to be grateful for. The problem is most of us don’t normally take the time to properly express the reasons why these loved ones mean so much to us. Perhaps now, especially with the holiday season looming, we should pause for a moment and consider those dear to us. Think about why these people are so special. Then, tell them. One of the most satisfying and rewarding things we can give to ourselves and to others is the gift of gratitude.

Watch the video here and express your gratitude today!


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