One of the easiest ways to lead a happier life is by making gratitude a habit. It is impossible to experience two emotions at once. So being grateful is a great way to crowd out emotions like fear, greed, and anger, which prevent us from being happy.
One good way to experience gratitude is to stop everything you are doing for one minute, find one thing in your life for which you are grateful, hold that thought in your head, and then let the emotion spread through your entire body. If that emotion doesn’t come initially, keep thinking about all the reasons why you are grateful for the thing or person you are thinking about. Think about how lucky you are to have it or him or her in your life. If you are thinking about something for which you are truly grateful, you will feel that emotion spread. Carry that feeling with you the rest of the day.
If you are having trouble focusing on just one positive thing, try a technique called negative visualization. Positive thoughts are the key to a happy life but sometimes it’s useful to imagine what our lives would be like without certain comforts or people who are dear to us. Imagine your life without running water, a roof to sleep under, fresh food to eat, or a job. Imagine what your life would be like if one of your loved ones passed away tomorrow. The point of this exercise is not to breed negativity, but to keep you present and make sure you are not taking the wonderful things in your life for granted.
Finally, a quick and easy way to experience gratitude is by buying The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha. This book points out hundreds of awesome things in life that we take for granted on a daily basis. Keep this book in a handy spot, pick it up, read one of the sections, and check the box on your Personal Action Form.