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Perhaps the easiest way to become happier is to become more grateful.

Want to hear something amazing? A study performed by Dr. Martin Seligman, one of the greatest proponents of positive psychology, showed that practicing gratitude for one week resulted in 92% of people feeling happier, and 94% of those who were depressed feeling less depressed.

In other studies, 90% of people found that expressing gratitude made them more joyful, 84% said it reduced stress, and 78% said it gave them more energy.

Here is the most amazing statistic: When you factor in all the benefits of practicing gratitude, it adds 6.9 years to your life. That’s right: regularly expressing thanks has been proven to have an even more positive impact on your health than exercising or quitting smoking.

In our research, having an Attitude of Gratitude was shown to mean more than thinking about all the good things in your life. As a matter of fact, everyone we interviewed would invariably point to a period of adversity or struggle in their lives as the time when they gained the knowledge, developed the relationship or built the skill or trait that ultimately allowed them to become happy and successful.

W. Clement Stone coined the idea of the “Inverse Paranoid,” a state of mind in which one believes that the world is conspiring to do them good. If you think about it, we can and should recognize all the experiences in our lives as catalysts for growth.

The power of gratitude is certainly not a new revelation. Anyone who has ever studied the human condition has understood it is an essential component of living a happy, full-hearted and successful life.

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