Dr. Romance on Gratitude, Kindness and Happiness

By

Dr. Romance on Gratitude, Kindness and Happiness
Your thoughts affect your mood, and how you relate to yourself can either lift or dampen your spirit

Dr. Romance writes:

 

The founding fathers of our country saw the “pursuit of happiness” as an inalienable right – so important they embedded it in the DNA of the United States of America, by writing it into the Preamble to the Constitution. It was a profoundly new idea at the time. With it, they set wheels in motion that have been turning ever since. As a nation, we enshrined our gratitude for the blessings of our lives by creating a national day of Thanksgiving, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law on December 26, 1941.

In my private counseling practice, clients often tell me, “I want to be happy” We then pursue making it a reality. Positive, happy people do have an easier time in life, and bounce back from problems faster. Their relationships run smoother, too.

Your thoughts affect your mood, and how you relate to yourself can either lift or dampen your spirits. Neuronal activity in the brain activates hormones which are synonymous with feelings. Constant self-criticism results in a “what's the use” attitude, which leads to depression.

If you’re not nice to yourself, you eventually go on strike. Negative opinions are also roadblocks in all your relationships. There is plenty of research to demonstrate that we are hard-wired to focus on problems (as a self-preservation reflex) and focusing problems creates stress, which is physically and emotionally damaging.

Every day I see the positive effects of getting my clients to focus on gratitude. The things we feel good about are easily taken for granted, so making sure you spend some of your time noticing what you're grateful for gives you a chance to register the good things in your life, reduce your stress and anxiety, and feel better about yourself, your friends and family, and your life.

While stress and anxiety cause the body to release adrenalin and testosterone, focusing on gratitude floods you with oxytocin, acetylcholine and other calming, relaxing agents. Hormones a emotions, emotions are hormones, so when you're flooded with happy hormones, you'll feel good.

 

Try laughter -- getting yourself a desk calendar with a new cartoon every day, sharing a joke you got via e-mail, telling a co-worker the cute thing your kid said (or listening to his story) or talking about the funny scene in the latest hit movie -- will lower your blood pressure, calm your pulse and generally help you release a lot of stress.

Your habits, your relationships, your environment, and especially what you think about them have a huge impact. As a psychotherapist, I know that those things determine more about how happy you are than your genes do, because I’ve watched so many people learn how happiness works. When you look at your own behavior, thoughts and feelings more objectively, you can change the things that are subtracting from your happiness.

 

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Tina Tessina

Author

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
http://www.tinatessina.com
tina@tinatessina.com
562-438-8077
Dr. Romance Blog: http://drromance.typepad.com/dr_romance_blog/
http://www.twitter.com/tinatessina
http://www.facebook.com/#!/DrRomanceBlog
Amazon author page http://amzn.to/rar7RC
 

Location: Long Beach, CA
Credentials: LMFT, MFT, PhD
Other Articles/News by Dr. Tina Tessina:

Dear Dr. Romance: I Would Like To Get Out Of This Anxiety

By

Dear Dr. Romance: I'm a 70-year-old man who has been married more than 40 years.  I read your article "Autonomy and Dependency" I feel like I've been in a codependency relationship the last fifteen years and have developed anxiety & depression. My wife is a strong person and I'm a 'pleaser.' I've been on ... Read more

Live Outside The Box

By

I was speaking with a client today about how he is burn-out in his career. This is a man who's been very successful, earned a lot of money, and worked hard for a big, national corporation. I told him he was burned-out, and on strike, because he had put himself in a box about work. The box consisted of four walls: Wall #1: I have to make $$$$ amount ... Read more

What To Do When You (Literally) Can't Afford To Be Let Down Again

By

Dear Dr. Romance: My partner, with whom I have been in a relationship for the past year, has changed and let me down twice. We were first friends for several years, and became a couple a year ago. We both fell in love instantly and desired to live together to build a good future, financially, with family. We both have children from past relationships and ... Read more

See More

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.