7 min

Happiness Break: 5 Minutes of Gratitude The Science of Happiness

    • Social Sciences

Not sure how to start practicing gratitude? Psychologist Dacher Keltner guides you through a practice that can help you see the good things in your life that you might otherwise overlook.



How to Do This Practice:


Sit or lay down somewhere comfortable. You may close your eyes if you wish, and take a slow, deep breath in to ground into the present moment. Then, scan your body from head to toe, noticing how you’re feeling in this moment. Let worries and plans clear from your mind.
Start by thinking about all the things that make your life comfortable: Clean water on tap, light at the flip of a switch, a roof over your head to protect you from the weather, warmth, and comfort when it gets windy, rainy, or cold.
Let your mind wander to all the millions of people who have worked hard to make your life more comfortable: Those who plant and harvest the food you eat, who bring it to markets, people who ensure the water we drink is clean, delivery drivers, teachers, all the people who create art and music and books and films and all the things that can bring us so much meaning, and so on.
Think about the acquaintances who bring richness to your life, like a colleague, neighbor, or someone you often see at the gym or a coffee shop.
Take a moment to think about what you’re really grateful for today, right now.
Notice how you’re feeling now, compared to when you started, and then start to bring movement back to your body, wiggling fingers and toes, maybe slowly standing up.
If you have the time, spend a few minutes journaling about what you thought about.




Today’s Happiness Break host:

Dacher Keltner is the host of The Science of Happiness podcast and is a co-instructor of the Greater Good Science Center’s popular online course of the same name. He's also a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

This practice was created by Dr. Kathy Kemper, who's the director of the Center for Integrative Health and Wellness at the Ohio State University. Learn more about some of her work here: https://mind-bodyhealth.osu.edu/



More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

Try GGSC’s online Gratitude Journal, Thnx4: https://tinyurl.com/2s4e4bx6

Take our Gratitude Quiz: https://tinyurl.com/yhbz6cwv

Four Great Gratitude Strategies: https://tinyurl.com/2muyff64

Is Gratitude Good for You?: https://tinyurl.com/ycknm2ru

Three Surprising Ways Gratitude Works at Work: https://tinyurl.com/yc2c8y4n

How Gratitude Motivates Us to Become Better People: https://tinyurl.com/5n6ejpdy



We love hearing from you! Tell us about your experience with practicing gratitude. Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.

Find us on Apple Podcasts: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap

Help us share Happiness Break! Leave us a 5-star review and copy and share this link: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap



We're living through a mental health crisis. Between the stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, burnout — we all could use a break to feel better. That's where Happiness Break comes in. In each biweekly podcast episode, instructors guide you through research-backed practices and meditations that you can do in real-time. These relaxing and uplifting practices have been shown in a lab to help you cultivate calm, compassion, connection, mindfulness, and more — what the latest science says will directly support your well-being. All in less than ten minutes. A little break in your day.

Not sure how to start practicing gratitude? Psychologist Dacher Keltner guides you through a practice that can help you see the good things in your life that you might otherwise overlook.



How to Do This Practice:


Sit or lay down somewhere comfortable. You may close your eyes if you wish, and take a slow, deep breath in to ground into the present moment. Then, scan your body from head to toe, noticing how you’re feeling in this moment. Let worries and plans clear from your mind.
Start by thinking about all the things that make your life comfortable: Clean water on tap, light at the flip of a switch, a roof over your head to protect you from the weather, warmth, and comfort when it gets windy, rainy, or cold.
Let your mind wander to all the millions of people who have worked hard to make your life more comfortable: Those who plant and harvest the food you eat, who bring it to markets, people who ensure the water we drink is clean, delivery drivers, teachers, all the people who create art and music and books and films and all the things that can bring us so much meaning, and so on.
Think about the acquaintances who bring richness to your life, like a colleague, neighbor, or someone you often see at the gym or a coffee shop.
Take a moment to think about what you’re really grateful for today, right now.
Notice how you’re feeling now, compared to when you started, and then start to bring movement back to your body, wiggling fingers and toes, maybe slowly standing up.
If you have the time, spend a few minutes journaling about what you thought about.




Today’s Happiness Break host:

Dacher Keltner is the host of The Science of Happiness podcast and is a co-instructor of the Greater Good Science Center’s popular online course of the same name. He's also a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

This practice was created by Dr. Kathy Kemper, who's the director of the Center for Integrative Health and Wellness at the Ohio State University. Learn more about some of her work here: https://mind-bodyhealth.osu.edu/



More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

Try GGSC’s online Gratitude Journal, Thnx4: https://tinyurl.com/2s4e4bx6

Take our Gratitude Quiz: https://tinyurl.com/yhbz6cwv

Four Great Gratitude Strategies: https://tinyurl.com/2muyff64

Is Gratitude Good for You?: https://tinyurl.com/ycknm2ru

Three Surprising Ways Gratitude Works at Work: https://tinyurl.com/yc2c8y4n

How Gratitude Motivates Us to Become Better People: https://tinyurl.com/5n6ejpdy



We love hearing from you! Tell us about your experience with practicing gratitude. Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.

Find us on Apple Podcasts: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap

Help us share Happiness Break! Leave us a 5-star review and copy and share this link: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap



We're living through a mental health crisis. Between the stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, burnout — we all could use a break to feel better. That's where Happiness Break comes in. In each biweekly podcast episode, instructors guide you through research-backed practices and meditations that you can do in real-time. These relaxing and uplifting practices have been shown in a lab to help you cultivate calm, compassion, connection, mindfulness, and more — what the latest science says will directly support your well-being. All in less than ten minutes. A little break in your day.

7 min

More by PRX

PRX and Greater Good Science Center
Snap Judgment and PRX
The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX
Religion of Sports | PRX
Futuro Studios and PRX
PRX