Want to be happy? Be grateful.


There is a direct connection between gratitude and happiness, and both can serve as sources of motivation for change. Consider focusing on practicing gratitude in 2020 to help you reach your goals.

What does it mean to “practice gratitude?”

“To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.” – Dr. Robert Emmons

Actively practice gratitude by setting aside time daily, maybe as part of your morning routine or during your commute to work, to recognize sources of goodness outside of yourself. Each day, list a few of the things in life that you are grateful for – be as specific as you would like.

You can start right now. Write down five sources of goodness in your life for which you feel grateful.

Why practice gratitude?

Practicing gratitude has proven to be one of the most reliable methods for increasing happiness and life satisfaction. It helps boost feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm and other positive emotions. It is also proven to help reduce anxiety and depression and help with recovery from traumatic life events.

It’s also good for physical health – increased gratitude, and therefore happiness, can help strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, reduce symptoms of illness, provide better sleep and make us less bothered by aches and pains. It also encourages better self-care, including exercise.

Not only can a gratitude practice help your own mental, emotional and physical health – it can improve the health of your relationships. Gratitude promotes forgiveness, helpfulness, altruism and compassion.

Happiness and gratitude as motivation for change

Studies show that gratitude can lead to increased energy and motivation, encouraging progress toward reaching goals. Grateful people tend to believe they deserve positive outcomes – and that they are capable of achieving them.

Focus on gratitude in 2020 and see how it can change you physically, mentally and emotionally.

This blog post was adapted from a presentation given by Mercer Health’s Center for Healthy Weight and Wellness. If you are looking for more support in reaching your wellness goals, explore the programs Mercer Health has to offer. Make an appointment today by calling 419-678-8446.