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Learn to be happy in 21 days

Giving thanks isn't just for one day a year.


Beth Cook

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 6, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 7:12 am CDT

Beth Cook is a business and relationship coach. Want advice? Have advice? Send her an email at

People always give the same dating advice: Be yourself. It’s generic, fuzzy wisdom—yet oh so true.

What does “being yourself” really mean though?

Breaking out in song on date number two? Confessing that you’ve been having an awful time online dating? No.

Being yourself in dating means being your best self. This means not complaining about getting older, being bored at work, etc., but sharing who you are, what inspires you, and what you want out of life. This can be tricky thing to do, especially if your life has felt particularly dull as of late, or you’re in the dating doldrums.

Luckily, you can be a happier person and a better date in 21 days. No joke.

There have been a slew of books lately, based on scientific research, about how to be happy. All of which seem to mention practicing “gratitude.”

Yes, my friends, it is scientifically proven that if you think about what you are grateful for every day for three weeks, you’ll increase your baseline level of happiness.

Before you get ahead of yourself, wondering, “What will I be thankful for once I cycle through my small group of friends and my cats?” let me share with you a quote from happiness researcher, Sonja Lyubomirsky.

“Gratitude is many things to many people,” she says. “It is wonder; it is appreciation; it is looking on the bright side of a setback; it is fathoming abundance; it is thanking someone in your life; it is thanking God; it is ‘counting blessings.’ It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is coping; it is present-oriented.” (Read more on her happiness research here.)

Practicing gratitude can simply be reflecting on the little things that make you smile: a morning cappuccino, a friendly conversation at the airport, a sunny day, your comfy couch.

Of course, there are just as many ways of practicing gratitude as there are people doing it (meditating, writing, posting on Facebook, thinking before bed). And fittingly, there are a host of apps and sites that can remind you to reflect.

Here are a few you might try:


Receive an email reminder every day to spend two minutes writing down what makes you happy in a personal online journal.


A global social website where people around the world share what is making them happy. Think Facebook with no complainers.

Track Your Happiness

Using this site, you’ll be able to track your happiness and find out what factors are associated with your greater happiness.

Gratitude Journal

Write down five things in this app you’re grateful for each day.

Gratitude Journal 365

An app where you write any number of things you are thankful for each day; you can also add a photo.

No more drinking whiskey and trolling for Internet memes to numb your negative brain. Get with the gratitude program. Once you find a site or app you like, stick with it. By practicing gratitude, and therefore increasing your happiness, you will have a much easier time being your best self and bringing that shiny self out on dates. Plus you’ll have awesome topics of conversations for dates: things that make you happy!

Photo via jessicahtam/Flickr

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*First Published: Sep 6, 2013, 10:30 am CDT