It should come as no surprise that gratitude and happiness go hand-in-hand. Yet although we strive to be happy, how often do we strive to be grateful? Is it possible that the benefits of gratitude can actually bring much of the happiness we seek? Here are some of the intersections where happiness and gratitude powerfully meet bringing more joy and less stress to our lives.
With all of the chasing, wanting, needing, and craving we do in our lives it's a wonder we even know what satisfaction feels like anymore. Yet, all it takes is a moment of gratitude to wash away everything and have satisfaction fill the void. When grateful, nothing's missing ... nothing's wanted. For a brief moment in time we connect with the truth that everything - is exactly as it should be.
We are never as satisfied as we are in moments of gratitude. This is one of the greatest of connections between gratitude and happiness, since satisfaction - as in contentment - is a natural part of authentic happiness.
As fortune would have it, we're often so busy chasing what we think'll bring us lasting satisfaction that we never take the time to slow down enough to appreciate.
Satisfaction is put up as the bounty and we set out to capture it through whatever means we think will do the trick - money, love, titles, social status, possessions. In the meantime, there are 'wise enough' souls out there who are sneaking in through the back door - gaining direct access to the prize by cultivating daily gratitude.
Gratitude and happiness don't require waiting. We don't need to first achieve this or that in order to cultivate a growing sense of satisfaction with our lives. And we need not worry about our cherished goals and dreams ...
They will still be very much alive - even more so - when we take time to fully appreciate and be grateful for life as it is.
Gratitude is highly attractive both physically and energetically. When you're grateful it does something to your facial features and physical countenance. There is an amazing air of wonder and warmth coming from people who are living the benefits of gratitude.
When you are grateful you don't need anything. All of your needy energy has left you. This is very attractive and makes people instinctively want to give and share with you. Projecting needy energy that is just begging to be fulfilled naturally invokes resistance in others - a resistance that quickly dampens the natural impulse to give.
Having an attitude of gratitude triggers other people's natural instinct to give. They can feel you don't want anything from them. You become a magnet to abundance, because abundance is what you project. After all, the very definition of gratitude - its essence - may be described as lack of need.
Need nothing. Then sit back and watch how things start coming your way. It's the closest thing to magic and one of the 'secret' connections between gratitude and happiness.
It's easy to think that allowing yourself to experience the utter satisfaction that comes with being grateful may dampen your will, your motivation or drive to go for your dreams. After all, don't you need to be dissatisfied with your lot before you're ever motivated to change it?
Actually, the more gratitude and happiness you can experience with what you already have - the more motivated you become to reach for your goals and dreams. How is that?! Think about it for a moment and it makes perfect sense...
How truly motivating would your goals be if you knew deep down inside that you wouldn't be able to appreciate them once achieved? And this is what is happening when you aren't appreciative and grateful for what you currently have!
Training yourself to be grateful and appreciative happens in the present - beginning with what you have now. There comes a point when you'll feel so much appreciation in your life that you're just dying to let more in! Your goals and future achievements become vehicles for even more gratitude, happiness and appreciation to come your way.
Without the ability to bring gratitude and happiness to your achievements - they become empty. Which doesn't make for a very motivating goal to pursue now, does it?
Often the most obvious things are the most difficult to see - since they're right in front of your nose. Taking a step back to see and appreciate what you have, makes you awake and aware to the full extent of your situation. You see what you have - not only what you don't. A full picture emerges, instead of a half-truth.
This balanced viewpoint brings gratitude and happiness back to life.
Appreciation and gratitude - not to mention happiness - are yours only when present. Being dragged away by the mind - thinking too much, worrying, fearing, doubting - presence is immediately lost. You become separated from the reality of not only your own life, but the lives around you as well.
Gratitude and happiness snap us back to reality.
Taking time to notice ... to appreciate ... the beating of our heart ... the pulsing blood coursing through our veins. Giving thanks to the vital force that animates us. What a powerful ally we have!
What of our current worries and fears if our heart suddenly stopped beating? They'd be dropped in an instance to focus on more pressing matters - life itself at stake.
But isn't that what we're talking about here? Life is always at stake. We can protect it, fuel it and renew it with gratitude and happiness on a daily basis.
Failing to appreciate what life brings our way, puts us in a very vulnerable position.
We're given something precious. Not appreciating it, we're essentially throwing it away! 'Here, let me give you something precious! Thanks - but no thanks - over the shoulder it goes!' What are we doing?!
Intently focused on deprivation and lack, we throw our gifts right over our shoulder without giving them a second thought. Once this obsession with lack takes hold, it becomes a self-perpetuating mental habit that becomes increasingly hard to break.
Our focus on lack chips away at our emotional reserves, quickly and steadily depleting us. Gratitude helps fill our emotional reserves back up. Happiness emerges with the rising tide.
Developing an attitude of gratitude means spending less energy focusing on anxieties, worries and fears. Even as these clamor desperately for attention, you take care to step out of the mind and simply appreciate.
By not throwing energy into the bottomless pit of lack, you build vital reserves of personal power - spelling fortitude.
When your energy is protected and carefully nurtured - you become full to the brim with vitality. Which gives you the capacity to weather any storm that life cares to throw your way. Thus fortified you're able to take gain and loss - and even praise and blame - in stride.
This fortitude is also what allows you to take true instruction from even the seemingly harshest of life's challenges.
Whoever thought of gratitude and happiness as practices for weak-minded souls?
If only gratitude and happiness came easily to a busy and frantic mind - we'd all be kicking back, basking in the warmth and soaking in the benefits! We wouldn't need to exercise gratitude at all. As it stands we often do have our work cut out for us. All the more challenging when it comes to changing your life a day at a time!