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Link Between Gratitude and Happiness

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    “Happiness is not a goal . . . it’s a by-product of a life well lived.” Eleanor Roosevelt wrote this quote in her book You Learn By Living. In a world focused on materialistic objects, many strive to find happiness through these objects. Many believe material things are the key to happiness, but materialistic items do not have an effect on happiness. Those who do not have much can achieve the same happiness as those who have more than they need. Genes have an effect on a person’s happiness level, but happiness is mostly determined by a person’s choices. Most people wish to be happy more often, but they do not realize there are a few steps they could take to increase their happiness levels. These steps are part of the “secret to happiness”. By following these steps, one can boost his or her happiness. To increase one’s happiness, one can practice gratitude, take better care of himself or herself, and form good relationships with others.

    Practicing gratitude every day will make a person happier. Gratitude comes from the Latin word gratia, which translates to grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. Gratitude helps people connect people with others because showing gratitude helps people acknowledge everything each person has, not what he or she is lacking. To show gratitude, one could be thankful for the blessings of the past, not take things for granted in the present, and be hopeful about the future. It is recommended that each person should start the day with gratitude. One way of doing that is to recognize life is a gift. It has been proven that by showing gratitude every day, a person will sleep better at night. Showing gratitude will also help a person build better and sturdier relationships with others. Both of these will help with overall well-being, which leads to more happiness. Scientists have shown those who express less gratitude experience more sadness or depression. This shows gratitude is inversely proportional to sadness. Practicing gratitude will increase one’s happiness; another way to increase happiness is to make healthy choices.

    Making healthy choices to take care of oneself increases happiness. One way to take better care of oneself is to cut back on screen time. Jean M. Twenge, a professor at San Diego State University, researched the ideal amount of screen time. He conducted a survey concerning three groups of people. The results showed those who had about an hour of screen time each day were the happiest. Cutting back on screen time would also help people sleep more. Adults are supposed to sleep for seven to eight hours each night, but many have chronic sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can impair one’s memory, make it harder for a person to concentrate, and increase stress and anxiety levels. If a person continues to have a lack of sleep, he or she can build a sleep debt. According to William Dement, who has a bachelor’s degree in Medical Science from the University of Washington and a Ph. D. in Physiology from the University of Chicago, “Millions of us are living a less than optimal life and performing at a less than optimal level, impaired by an amount of sleep debt we’re not even aware we carry.” A lack of sleep can affect everyday life without one realizing it. However, if a person would sleep 60 to 90 minutes more each night, it would help decrease the sleep debt, which would result in a stronger memory, increased concentration, and a stronger immune system; this would lead to more happiness. To increase happiness, one can make healthy choices, but one can also form sturdy relationships.

    Having strong relationships correlates directly with happiness. Humans are naturally social; everyone has relationships. Dr. Waldinger, who has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and an MD from Harvard Medical School, claims, “Personal connection creates mental and emotional stimulation, which are automatic mood boosters, while isolation is a mood buster.” It is not good for a person to always be alone; however, some people feel alone even when they are surrounded by people. This occurs when people focus on the number of relationships, not the quality of relationships. These people have many friends, but they cannot count on them. Having good relationships is healthier for a person, and it increases happiness. A study conducted by individuals attending Harvard shows people who have good connections with others in their community are healthier, happier, and live longer. The study shows that good relationships are helpful for one’s brain; these relationships help a person to have an improved, long-lasting memory. Forming good relationships has many benefits for a person, including increased happiness.

    Everyone wants to live a happy life, but many do not realize exactly how to achieve happiness. Although reaching happiness can seem hard, there are a few simple choices a person can make to increase happiness. These steps are only a few of the secrets to happiness; there are many more actions that can occur to become happy. When a person practices gratitude, takes better care of himself or herself, and focuses on strong relationships, that person’s happiness will increase. Eleanor Roosevelt stated that by living life well, a person will experience happiness. Happiness is something that will occur because of the actions a person takes in his or her life. If each person takes the right steps, each person will experience happiness.

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