Where do you stand?
If you’re curious about your general level of gratitude, go to www.authentichappiness.com and take the gratitude survey (these are also available in the book Authientic Happiness by Dr. Martin Seligman). It’s free, as are all the assessments at that site. They are based on research in positive psychology being conducted at the University of Pennsylvania and other institutions.
Instead of focusing only on mental illness, positive psychology research has been looking to see if traits that make some happier or more optimistic than others can be developed. While it appears that there is a natural leaning toward optimism or pessimism for each individual, experiences also play a role and people can learn more optimistic behaviors. Several studies suggest that optimistic people liver longer and more satisfying lives.
One study was of nuns living very similar lives in a convent. They wrote essays during their early 20s and sixty years later, researchers found that those who expressed the most positive emotions in their essays lived up to ten years longer than those who expressed more negative emotions. Study abstract
You may also want to have a look at researcher Barbara Fredrickson’s findings on the 3:1 positivity ratio and take the Positivity Ratio assessment.
The series continues later this week. Follow this link for more beautiful expressions of gratitude. Pringle Hill’s gratitude journal