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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, dancing and good movies.  

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The gratefulness habit that can have a huge influence on your life and takes only ten minutes a day

"It’s not easy to go where you’ve never been".
The sentence is apparently very plain and easy to understand, and yet reading it while taking care of a translation task somehow forced me to think about life, love, happiness, success, safety and satisfaction.

How can you be happy, if you have never felt happy before and you don't know how happiness does look like?
How can you recognize love and trust, if you have no idea how they work?
How can you look for safety and success, when they are just a blurred idea in your mind?

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
 Douglas Adams [1952-2001]

There is no magic wand that can do the job for you, unfortunately.
However, you have many options available and in my experience, one of the most powerful ones is being grateful.

There is always a reason to be thankful. Always.
Dawn D. Mitchell

Robert A. Emmons, Professor of Psychology at UC Davis (Davis, California) and Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology, has been focusing on the psychology of gratitude for over fifteen years and in the last decade took care of many research projects that show a strong correlation between gratefulness and happiness.

According to Emmons, making a habit of writing down on a regular basis and even better on a daily basis in a gratitude journal what one is grateful for can not only strongly influence a person's mood but also affect in a positive way her physical, psychological and social well-being, over time.

[A gratitude journal can spice up your life 
and lend a great deal of color to your days...
Image source: ISO Republic]

Recognizing the abundance and the blessings already present in one's life helps to get a new perspective about difficult situations, setbacks and hard times. It helps to recognize that even if not everything is going like one would like to, there are usually still plenty of things to be grateful for.

And the best part is: ten minutes a day are more than enough for this. You don't need to write a novel or to put hours of work into it if you don't feel like doing it: a short list of three items a day can still do the trick.

I have been keeping my own gratitude journal for about four years now, and it really changed my perspective about life. 
Perception is reality and we all create our own reality depending on how we see things, how we interpret and understand situations and events, which meaning we give to what happens around us.

While keeping a gratitude journal, I learned how to focus on the good things more and above all how to be more aware and mindful during every moment of the day: writing down at the end of the day what I am grateful for was not so easy, at the beginning. I had to concentrate and to think about my day once again, in order to "find" something worth writing.
And yet over time, I learned how to value those things and those little moments more and how to recognize them easily in the first place, in order to remember them and to cherish them.

[At the moment I have three different diaries,
and each of them is used for a very specific kind of journaling.
How about you?]

As the days of journaling became weeks and then months, I learned how to be completely present in the moment, how to enjoy it and to tell myself "This is something that makes me happy and I will write about it tonight in my gratitude journal". 
That thought made every experience more precious and intimate, like a special secret only for me, and it taught me how to be happy twice: once in the very moment in which something happens and once again later on while remembering it and writing about it.

Some pursue happiness, others create it.   
Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin de Francueil,
better known as George Sand [1804-1876]

What is happiness made of, and how do I create it, for myself?
Tomorrow I will publish my own personal "happiness inventory", a very special list I have been putting together in the last two years while counting my blessings and the small and big things in life I am genuinely thankful for.
On the bad days it is something useful to read, and expanding it on the good days it is a blast.
In my opinion, there is no better reality check tool than this, when I sometimes forget how wonderful and meaningful life can be. And how lucky I am.

I hope it will inspire you to create your own inventory and to expand it every day with new experiences and treasured moments.

Tags: Happiness, Gratefulness, Gratitude journaling, Quotes, Happiness list, Happiness inventory, Positive attitude, Positive psychology

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