What is happiness, after all? And what is it not? To be honest, happiness is a subjective term, and while we can’t define it in a definite sentence – we are well aware of the things that make us happy. A plate of our comfort food, undisturbed sleep for over ten hours, the well-being of our family, hanging out with our best friends… the list goes on. While these situations do make us happy, science says that you get utmost happiness only when you show gratitude to someone.
The Gratitude Experiment
Believe it or not, expressing your gratitude towards someone actually makes you more ecstatic than you think it does. The good peeps at SoulPancake conducted an experiment wherein they invited people over to assess their levels of happiness. You can try it too if you want, once you finish reading how it works.
The first thing the focus group was asked to do was to take a test with questions that’ll help assess the current levels of their happiness. They were then asked to close their eyes and think of someone who was extremely influential in their lives, someone who did something remarkable for them, so much so, it brought change to their lives.
The focus group was then asked to write why this person was so important to them and while most of them thought the experiment was over, it had just begun. The experimenters then asked the focus group to call up the person they had addressed in their notes. What happened next was truly amazing. Physically calling up their someone special and expressing gratitude made them smile, laugh and cry – a gush of emotions ran through their brains, all because they made someone else happy.
After which, the focus group was given another test, though it was the same set of questions from the earlier one. Except the questions were framed differently, to make sure that the focus group doesn’t realize they are taking the same test again. This helped the experimenters assess their (now) current happiness levels. The results showed that the level of happiness went up from 4% to 19%. Drastic, right?
The Act Of Kindness
You see what happened there? A little act of kindness made people happy. While we spend hours, days, and weeks thinking about why we are unhappy in our lives, it literally takes five minutes to get back the moment of joy that’s been missing in our lives.
For each one of us, happiness is a state bound by the everyday things we do in life. We have conditioned our mind in a way that only certain things make us happy, because of which we lose out on the mundane moments that make us happy too, especially, making others happy – as clichéd as it sounds, it’s true.
Thank The People In Your Life
How many times do we say thank you to people? The guard who keeps the door open for you, the auto driver who is actually nice to you, the person who serves you coffee in your office, the woman who cleans your house every day without fail, your colleague who waits for you to have lunch together – we all have these people in our lives and yet we don’t thank them enough. Even in our families or with our dearest friends, there are times we take people for granted and forget the fact that if they weren’t always there, life wouldn’t be half as amazing as it is.
So you know what? Say thank you more often, smile more often, offer help to people more often. The year is ending and if you are having a particularly tough time, try out the experiment of gratitude because it will definitely make you happy.