Dr Dan Baker, author of the best selling book What Happy People Know, conducted a lengthy study into what actually makes people happy. Surprisingly, happiness was not created by money, position, celebrity status or even food or sex. The top reasons are gratitude and giving. Dr Baker’s study revealed that when people are truly grateful for what they have or when they deliberately choose to be givers, there is a chemical that gets released in the brain that creates a sense of euphoria, an inner peace and a feeling of personal significance.
Personally, I have started to follow the advice of Darren Hardy in his book The Compound Effect to write a gratitude journal. It focuses my mind on the good things that my wife does for me: the tiny, often un-noticed things, instead of giving attention to negative thoughts. The effect on our relationship has been stunning.
A few weeks ago, my son came back from school with a letter about a World Challenge expedition to central Asia (along the Silk Route). My friend said that it was out of their league for their son (my son’s best friend) to consider. My question to my wife was: how can we help Jack to be able to go. Last weekend, we made the decision to offer to give Jack’s family whatever it takes so that he could take part. The effect on Jack’s family was remarkable. It made me truly happy that we had offered to give without any expectation of return (other than the experience and growth that Jack would get personally).
Sunday was significant. We were leaving a legacy. I was truly happy.
What can you do to give and to be grateful?
Thank you to Bob Beaudine (The Power of Who) for the reference to Dr Baker’s book and study.