For Happiness In Tough Times, Be More Grateful

Young beautiful African American afro woman with curly hair wearing casual sweater smiling with hands on chest with closed eyes and grateful gesture on face.

These uplifting findings offer routes to business success, as well as individual well being. If we accept gratitude increases happiness, we also know joyful people are more curious, creative, and resilient. Great qualities to possess in a challenging and disrupted post-pandemic world.

Turning Up The Happiness Dial 

The evidence is relatively new. However, great thinkers have long identified gratitude as a desirable trait of an emotionally mature mind. The Roman statesman Marcus Cicero described it as the greatest virtue – and a parent to all the other beneficial qualities. The eighteenth-century philosopher David Hume called ingratitude “the most horrible and unnatural crime that a person is capable of committing”.

In King Lear, Shakespeare has his eponymous hero angrily accuse his ungrateful daughter Goneril of being a “marble-hearted fiend”. No surprise that most of us have parents who insisted on “thank yous” like marine corps drill instructors.

Psychologists call your personal level of day-to-day happiness your “set point”. We all inherit an individual benchmark for cheerfulness rooted in our genes and upbringing. It’s long been argued that this setting is stubbornly stable over time. Research shows, whether you win the lottery, or are paralyzed from the neck down, you tend to gravitate back to your set point after three to six months.

If you doubt this, next time you board a flight (those times are returning), glance at the faces of people sitting in the comfy business class seats. Do they look any more contented? Mostly, you’ll find their faces reveal the same level of happiness as the less fortunate trudging towards coach.

Positive Psychology researchers now suggest certain habits can shift your happiness set point in the right direction. There’s a healthy debate about how big the effect can be. However, one point has been agreed upon. Gratitude is one of the few intentional human emotions which has a sustainable impact. Here are three simple, but powerful ways, to move your happiness dial upwards, and keep it there.

1. Count Your Blessings  

Writing down three new things that you’re grateful for starts to change the physical structure of your brain. Researchers have shown the impact builds after about three weeks of this daily activity. American psychologist Sean Anchor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, said: “…at the end of that, their brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first.”

2. Send a Grateful Email 

Another route is to consciously express gratitude to the people in your life. In my leadership programs, we ask participants to pick three people and write a short story about them in the form of an email. The idea is to describe a time when that person helped.

Professor Dan Cable, the author of Exceptional: Build Your Personal Highlight Reel and Unlock Your Potential, advises: “It’s important that the email story has a beginning, middle, and an end. I encourage people to include gritty, specific elements of the event which helps the person receiving the email to relive the memory when they read it.”

When senior executives pluck up the courage to write their emails, Dan and I find a wonderfully rewarding dynamic plays out. Within hours or days, the managers often get an email back. They receive a similarly grateful story in return from their delighted friend, colleague, or family member.

If you are nervous about sharing a grateful story, there is a fascinating facet of the research that is encouraging. It turns out it’s worth writing the story even if you don’t subsequently press send on the email. The evidence shows that people who create the narratives but decide to keep them to themselves, still enjoy the uplifting benefits. Although, of course, their friends do not.

This habit of being more explicitly grateful in writing or face-to-face has a snowball effect. Researchers found the improvements in mental health increase after 12 weeks of the habit. This is exciting because the mental health benefits of other positive activities often decrease over time.

3. Meditate, Gratefully   

Coronavirus has transformed mindfulness – the ability to focus on the present moment without judgment – from a management fad into an essential business tool. It’s possible to inject gratitude into this powerful approach by concentrating on what you are currently thankful for: the warmth of the sun, a great book you’re reading, or a special person in your life.

Happiness has come into sharp focus in the teeth of the pandemic. The results in a recent global Gallup survey were counterintuitive. Average happiness across 95 countries has crept up when compared to three years before Coronavirus struck. Even more surprising, Covid-19 has increased the happiness of older people more than any other group. This despite the risk of death being far higher. On average, the elderly are more cheerful while the young are more miserable.

The explanation is gratitude. Last month, The Economist put it this way: “Old people probably are not actually healthier. Rather, Covid-19 has changed the yardstick. They feel healthier because they have dodged a disease that could kill them.”

The scientific research into gratitude now supports the diversionary tactics my wife and I used with our young sons. For two tired, working parents, The Grateful Game started dinner on a positive footing and crowded out bad behavior. We found it easier to divert their attention to something positive, rather than endlessly saying “no” to negative behavior.

The same trick works for all of us. Being grateful shifts your attention away from toxic emotions and towards something more uplifting. Do it for long enough, and it permanently rewires your brain to be a happier person. And, for that, we can all be very grateful.

I am an award-winning business author, global executive educator and Programme Director at London Business School. My most recent book ‘The Human Edge, how curiosity and creativity are your superpowers in the digital economy’ (Pearson) was named as the Business Book of The Year 2020. I’ve led leadership development programmes for global clients in industries including advertising, automotive, consumer goods, banking & insurance, manufacturing, media, recruitment and technology.  I’ve shared my insights into building creative leadership and innovative teams in more than 400 virtual and face-to-face talks to executive audiences around the world. Previously, I’ve been a successful entrepreneur, the founding CEO of London Business School’s Centre for Creative Business and a national TV journalist with the BBC and ITV.

Source: For Happiness In Tough Times, Be More Grateful


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How COVID-19 Has Impacted Moves in America


COVID-19 has greatly impacted the way Americans live their lives. Both short and long term decisions are made with the pandemic in mind in today’s world. When looking specifically at the housing industry, mortgage rates have dropped significantly. Although home sales suffered in the spring, by summer of 2020 we saw them rebound again.

However, even though mortgage rates have decreased, the number of homes for sale compared to this time last year has decreased. At the same time, the number of homeowners refinancing their homes have increased. The ever growing concern for job security may also impact people’s decisions regarding when and where to make such a large purchase.

Even with the lower mortgage rates, the Federal National Mortgage Association predicts that 15% fewer homes will be sold this spring than last spring, specifically due to COVID-19. And yet in many cities in the United States, people are moving in historical numbers! So it is clear that COVID-19 has affected people throughout America differently – this article will touch on some of the factors behind that impact and what it means for the moving industry moving forward.

COVID-19 and how often people move.

Has the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak impacted how often people are moving? With the widespread lockdowns and corresponding shelter in place mandates, it would be easy to assume moving has been all but nonexistent during 2020.

Intriguingly, this has not been the case. Moving has been impacted, as have most major industries, but not to the extent that might be expected. In fact, in some areas such as large cities, moving has rapidly increased in 2020 compared to 2019. The graphic below offers a visual comparison of individuals moving out of cities in the last two years.

With millions of more Americans now working remotely, people are beginning to realize they can work from almost anywhere. What has been occurring, slowly yet surely, is a steady drip of individuals and families leaving their cramped, urban accommodations for nearby suburban or even rural living spaces.

This coincides with reports that more people are choosing to escape lockdown quarters by getting outdoors locally to explore. There is an argument that people are beginning to seek out nearby greener pastures in a very real and tangible way. However, some such moves – most especially in hard-hit cities like New York City and San Francisco – may also prove to be temporary.

In other cases, people have been moving from one urban area to another urban area, often one just as densely populated as the one being left behind.

Many single adults living independently reported choosing to leave New York City and surrounding areas in favor of moving home to be with family during lockdown. For example, where pandemic-related school closures left college students temporarily homeless, many may have moved back home with family to ride out the lockdown. In many larger cities, COVID-19 seems to spread more rapidly, which also plays a role in people leaving to be more “on their own” in the country, away from the masses.

Interestingly, statistics show that people are sharply divided in terms of future moving plans. For example, a full 25 percent of a recent survey stated that pandemic concerns may prompt a future move. Yet a full 25 percent also report that they do not anticipate moving in the near future for pandemic-related reasons. The following graphic dives into detail regarding people’s opinion on moving based on the pandemic.

COVID and Why People Move.

An estimated 22 percent of people in the U.S. have moved in the last six months. One-third of these survey respondents stated that their move was prompted by a need to relocate to a safer area.

Those moving also cited the following reasons for choosing to live elsewhere:

  • Seeking a less densely crowded area.
  • Moving home out of a need to care for an elderly loved one.
  • Better work prospects to replace lost income.
  • Access to safer and less crowded transportation options.


Even while some statistics indicate COVID has not been a major trigger for how often, where or why people move, the respected Pew Research Center recently released data contradicting these moving COVID claims.

Of the 20 percent of survey respondents who reported moving COVID plans, these are the top five reasons:

  • 35 percent of moves were initiated by the need for more indoor space.
  • 34 percent of moves occurred because they needed a new building.
  • 31 percent of moves were prompted by a need or desire for more outdoor space.
  • 23 percent of moves were caused by the need to find more affordable housing.
  • 23 percent of moves took place to bring families back together during lockdown.


Space is clearly a pressing concern prompting many moves over the last year. With the sudden surge in remote workers, many families have discovered their living space simply couldn’t effectively accommodate two or more adults living and working from home.Perhaps this is also why the cohort is reporting the strongest potential to make another COVID-related move in the near future is between the ages of 24 and 55  prime workforce years.

COVID-19’s Impact on the Moving Industry in 2020

Up until now, we have focused on the impact COVID has had on how often, where and why people are moving (or are choosing not to move). But what about the moving industry itself? Have moving professionals and companies experienced the type of economic impact that has rippled through the travel industry?

Not surprisingly, movers and shakers in the moving industry are genuinely worried about the near future economic health of the industry and their business. From a risk management perspective, this makes perfect sense, especially when bolstered by data showing that 74 percent of moving industry professionals have witnessed some level of downsizing during the last 12 months. 72 percent of survey respondents affirmed a near-past business slowdown attributed to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown orders.

However, as the data previously cited here showcases, moves are still taking place. Sometimes, these moves are prompted by the very same sort of downsizing that is causing economic concern in the moving industry.

However, the underlying impetus for the economic downturn itself is different this time around. Never before has the United States or the global economy experienced a downturn on this scale due to a seemingly unstoppable virus. The pandemic seems set to change our way of life – potentially forever. This means all the data available to us for study and prediction gives us only a baseline guesstimate at best for what could happen in the months and years ahead.

The rise of the remote workforce will likely have its own impact on the moving industry and it is one we are not yet well-equipped to predict. As a faint foreshadowing of brighter days to come (pandemic notwithstanding), 42 percent of Real Trends survey respondents stated that they did not intend to self-move ever again, even though 91 percent of these stated they felt capable and prepared to move again.

This statistics suggests that professional moving services will remain very much in demand for near-future moves and that demand may even increase due to COVID.

Facts about Moving for COVID or Non-COVID Reasons

These statistics represent general data about how people plan and prepare for an upcoming move, whether that move may be related to COVID or made for other reasons.

Choosing the right moving service is important.

On average, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of survey respondents said they took up to six months prior to their move date to choose a moving service!

Just 18 percent of respondents stated they took only a few weeks to one month prior to their move date to choose a moving service.

Older adults report moving as a higher stress life event.

Among adults aged 55 years or younger, moving was rated as one of the “most stressful” life events by 45 percent of survey respondents. The numbers, as high as they are, go up as age increases. Among adults aged 56 years or older, moving was rated as one of the “most stressful” life events by 66 percent of survey respondents.

In both cases, moving outranked every other option in terms of the stress it causes.


Source: Moving during COVID 19



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This Marie Kondo E-Course Might Finally Help You Get Organized

Marie Kondo super-fans have already devoured her wildly popular books, such as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And they’ve likely binged her Emmy-nominated Netflix series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. But even those who haven’t consumed her content likely know who she  is thanks to her status as a bona fide cultural lifestyle and business icon

Whether you’re already an adherent of the KonMari Method and eager for more instruction or just considering seeing what all the hype is about, Kondo has you covered. Today, she launches a 10-part digital tidying course, KonMari Method: Fundamentals of Tidying. The video series, which costs $39.99, uses lessons taught by Kondo and visual guides to help anyone who signs up get — and stay — organized.

Related: Marie Kondo Visited My Quarantine Workspace and Gave Me a Lesson on Letting Go

In a recent email interview, Kondo gave us the scoop on how Fundamentals of Tidying differs from her books and Netflix series, and why she thought now was the perfect time to release it. Read on for our interview. 

What was your motivation for putting together this course?

People are spending more time than ever at home, so this course is an opportunity to help people tidy up and rediscover their joy. Rather than a dreaded task, I see tidying as a celebration. It’s an act of gratitude for the items that support you every day – and the first step to living the life you’ve always wanted. It is my hope that the magic of tidying will help people to create a bright and joyful future, especially during these uncertain times.

How is it different from what your books and Netflix series offer?

I’ve discovered over the years that people master the KonMari Method in different ways. For many, my books were all the tidying instruction they needed. For others, my Netflix show – featuring real life stories of people tidying with me – helped them through the process. This course is a great fit for people who enjoy learning through visual demonstration. I break the KonMari Method into lessons and am with you every step of the way.

What does a typical lesson entail? 

The course breaks down the method into 10 lessons and takes you through a tidying festival from start to finish. The first three lessons lay the foundation for tidying successfully – in one shot – and expand on the philosophy behind my method. In the KonMari Method, you tidy by category, not by location – the five categories are clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items) and sentimental items, and there is an episode dedicated to each one.

I teach you how to tidy one category at a time and how to organize and store the belongings you choose to keep. The course is designed so you can tidy at your own pace and review my folding techniques and storage guides as you go.

Related: Organization Guru Marie Kondo’s Netflix Show Transforms People’s Homes and Their Lives. Learn Her Simple Method to Increase Joy and Decrease Clutter.

Are there any ways to personalize the course?

The pacing is up to you. It’s also compatible with multiple devices, so you can watch it easily from wherever you are. The course comes with a downloadable workbook with exercises and checklists to hold you accountable and keep you on track.

How long does the course take to complete?

The course itself is about 75 minutes long, but it will take you longer than that to tidy up. Some people may decide to watch the whole course straight through and then turn to tidying; others might watch one episode at a time and tidy along with me.

As long as you tidy by category and follow the right order – and the other “rules” that I outline in the course – you’ll be on the road to success.

Who will benefit most?

This course is perfect for people who want to defeat clutter once and for all. It’s also helpful for anyone seeking to reevaluate their relationship with their possessions and rediscover their joy.

Related: Exclusive: Marie Kondo’s Advice for People, Like Steve Jobs, Who Swear by Messy Desks

By: Jessica Thomas / Digital Content Director

Find out more about Marie Kondo’s KonMari method here:… 10 Best Tips We Learned from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo // Subscribe:… If you want to get your life in order, you definitely have to start watching this show. For this list, we’re looking at the most useful tips from this Netflix show. Our list includes Organize Items By Size, Pile Things Up, Thank Your Home, Give Every Item A Home, Use Clear Boxes, and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Organization Tips We Learned on Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Check out these other great videos: Top 10 Current Home And Design Shows: Top 10 Surprisingly Healthy Fast Food Items: Top 10 Craziest Hoarding: Buried Alive Episodes: List Rank and Entries: 10. The KonMari Method Essentials 9. Organize Items By Size 8. Store Items Based on Frequency of Use 7. It Will Get Worse Before It Gets Better 6. Pile Things Up 5. Thank Your Home 4. Give Every Item A Home 3, 2 & 1??? Suggest a video here:… MsMojo’s Social Media: Facebook►► Twitter►► Instagram►► Snapchat ►► Get MsMojo Merchandise at Shop:… WatchMojo is a leading producer of reference online video content of Top 10 Lists, Origins, Biographies, Commentary and more on Pop Culture, Celebrity, Movies, Music, TV, Film, Video Games, Politics, News, Comics, Superheroes. Your trusted authority on ranking Pop Culture. #MarieKondo#TidyingUp#TUWMK

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