This week’s Chopra Center series begins with bringing awareness to all the choices we make on a daily, hourly basis. Researchers have found that while eating your favorite meal, enjoying a glass of wine, going shopping , etc. can increase our happiness, it only lasts for a few hours or a day or two at most. The things that bring us true, lasting happiness however are the things that allow us to express our creativity or bring happiness to another person. If you want instant happiness, the secret is to open your heart and give unconditionally, and without any expectations. But how can we do that in every encounter?
Researchers have found that what really brings people happiness is:
When we give our attention (listen), we are completely present and open as we focus on understanding another person’s perspective – even when we don’t agree with it. We don’t give advice (unless the other person directly asks for it) and we don’t interrupt or try to get someone to hurry up and “get to the point.” Simply by listening attentively to someone, we are actually helping to calm their brain and reduce their stress, which has many benefits for physical and emotional wellbeing.
Appreciation is letting someone know that you value them and are grateful they are in your life. You notice the qualities you love about a person and share your appreciation for who they are, their unique gifts, and the ways in which their presence and actions creates more peace, joy, and fun in your life.
Affection is deep caring. We express our affection through our words, physical touch, and other actions, letting someone know that we are there for them. Loving touch is particularly vital to health and happiness. It releases a shower of natural pain-relieving and mood-elevating chemicals throughout the body, calming the mind’s busy chatter and promoting feelings of safety, comfort, and relaxation. While technology allows us to see and hear each other from a distance, it can’t create the true connection and fulfillment that comes from loving touch.
One of the deepest human needs is acceptance . . . that feeling of being completely seen and accepted, even with all of our weaknesses, inconsistencies, and shortcomings.
Research has also shown that people who consciously focus on gratitude experience greater emotional well being and physical health than those who don’t. So if you want more happiness, joy, and energy, gratitude is clearly a crucial quality to cultivate and express.
Here are three practices you can begin using this week to open your heart to gratitude and love.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal – Each day list at least five things for which you are grateful. Challenge yourself by not repeating items from the previous days, for this will make you look more deeply at all the “little” things
- Write a Thank-you Letter – Make a list of at least five people who have had a profound impact on your life. Choose one and write a thank you letter expressing gratitude for all the gifts you’ve received from that person. If possible, deliver your gratitude letter in person.
- Take a Gratitude Walk – Set aside twenty minutes (or longer if you can) and walk somewhere in nature. Pay attention to your senses and see how many things you can find to feel grateful for. This is a powerful way to shift your mood and open to the flow of abundance that always surrounds you.
How will you open your heart this week?
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Love the gratitude journal idea, many can benefit from that 🙂
Gratitude has helped me through so much, glad you agree Ashley. Hope to see you here again soon!
the gratitude walk seems like something i need right now
Yes, gratitude is where it’s at Kelly. Happy you stopped by and hope you come back again! Have a great weekend!
This is great Thanks for a great post!
Happy you liked it Natalie, hope to chat with you again soon!
This is a great list, I have heard of keeping a journal and writing thank you letters, but I have never heard of gratitude walks. This is a very interesting post, thank you.
Yes, I love picking up new tips on ow to stay in the moment and appreciate everything I have now 😀 Happy you stopped by, hope to see you here again soon!
Those seem like some great suggestions. I think I will write a thank you letter.
Awe, thanks Allyson 😉 Hope you drop by again soon! Have a great weekend!
Great suggestions i know alot of people who should read this.
Yeah, I have to pull it up and re-read it myself some times 😉
I always get a thanks you card always say thanks like the other suggestion also so thanks for posting them
Glad you stopped by Tammy, hope you stop in again 🙂
Love this.. thank you
Thanks for stopping in Rebecca, hope you stop in again soon!
Love the suggestions. Thank you
My pleasure Beth! Hope you have a wonderful week!
Love your 4 A’s and the use of the Gratitude Journal.
I have kept this type of journal before, and it something that I have my students do also.
Good for you Anne, Gratitude is my best defense against Ego 😉
Great tips! I like the writing a thank you note and keeping a journal idea!
Yeah, me too!
That’s right! I believe that people now days forget what love really means. I think they get so wrapped up in the thought, that they lose sight of what it really means to love someone unconditionally.
Unconditional love is definitely where it’s at! Thanks for sharing Janette, hope to see you here again soon 😀
love is a beautiful relationship, only few people can feel it ..
I know and it’s wonderful – happy you stopped by Sania, hope to see you again soon 😀