How Gratitude Makes You Happier
It's easy to see the negatives in our lives. We're hard-wired into staying safe, our mind is constantly looking for threats which manifests into anxiety, fear, worry and generally feeling negative about life as our mind analyses all the things that are going wrong or could go wrong.
Yet recent science is beginning to shed the light on the positive effects of gratefulness on our mind and body. Studies have now shown that being grateful raises our satisfaction in life, helps us battle depression and stress, makes us feel happier and improves our heart health and sleep quality.
At Food85, we place emphasis on being mindful about our food and where it comes from. One of the ways we can do this is by considering where our food is sourced and who made it, and we don't just mean the chef in the restaurant we're at on a Saturday night. We mean the entire journey, from the farmer who tended to the crops, to the the store assistant who put the food in the supermarket aisle, to the family member or friend (or yourself) who produced a meal with that food. We love celebrating locally produced food - it's a way to become more connected with our food, and helps reduce food waste. Buying from local farmers markets for example, is a beautiful way to actually see the person who grew and harvested our food and thank them in person. The act of buying food becomes more intimate and you're quite literally faced with being grateful as you exchange money and food with the producer in front of you. This allows us to appreciate what we're able to buy locally, and also helps us extend that feeling towards the more impersonal experience of shopping online or at the supermarket, as it allows us to at least appreciate more of the foods we can't always get at the local farmer's market due to availability.
Expressing gratitude doesn't have to stop at our food though. There are small, easy ways to begin being more grateful in our day to day lives which will help us stay more present and satisfied with our reality. One of the easiest ways, and a proven method for improving levels of happiness, is through keeping a gratitude journal, which is simply writing three things your grateful for everyday. Another method is even simpler - when you're in a situation where you're limited on what you can do, for example, standing in a queue or stuck on the underground, try listing all the things to be grateful for in that moment. At first, it may be difficult as you stand squashed on a delayed central line train, but the more you search for things to appreciate, the easier that situation becomes. Try thinking the fact that other transport systems outside of your country are less advanced, regular or safe, if you're really struggling!
To help you on your journey, below are some of our favourite references for learning about gratitude.