Are You Happy?

Do You Wanna Be?

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Want a tip for transforming your mind, life and achieving happiness?  Be more grateful. This has been found to be one of the single most effective ways to being content and happy.  Happiness doesn’t result in being grateful, being grateful results in being happy. This means paying attention to what you have, NOT focusing on what you don’t have and not taking things for granted.

In every situation we can be grateful and thankful for what God has done for us and for his promises. He has given us life and all we need to survive here on earth. Every day He is with us, sustaining us. Be thankful for his love and for His gift of life.

Everyday is a gift from God. There are no two days alike. Each day is packed with new blessings, surprises, adventures and opportunities to grow to become a better you – if you’re open to it. Gratitude opens the opportunity to receive more. The lack of gratitude is a blocker for blessings. Why would God give you more if you don’t appreciate what you have now. Go through your day looking for things to be grateful for.  It doesn’t have to be a big ticket item like getting a new car or house. It could be someone smiling at you when you’re going through a tough time, someone opening up a door for you, your spouse bringing you a cup of coffee in the morning, a friend calling you just say hello or the fact you woke up this morning or have a job.

Part of my journey over the years has taken me down a lot of roads, searching for peace of mind – a transformed mind. One of the things I found was just how important being grateful is. Not just giving it lip service but real heartfelt gratitude. This one act alone has proven to be an essential ingredient in lifting my spirits, turning my thinking around, experiencing contentment in the moment, improving my relationships, being happier and more joyful.

One of the ways to transform your mind is to practice gratefulness on a daily basis. How easy it is to take everyday things for granted such as water, our health, food, time, and each other in our busy lives. We settle into our routines: get up, dress, grab something to eat as we hurry out the door to get where we need to be, rush through the day, pick up the kids from school, help them with their homework, make dinner, maybe watch a little TV, get ready for bed, then do it all over again the next day.

Routines can cause us to function on auto-pilot and become numb to life’s daily gifts and blessings – like the love of your family, nature, a hug from your child/significance other, a beautiful sunset, the ability to walk, bathe yourself, or the fact that you can do as much as you do every day. I’ve worked with brained injured adults for many years and watched as they struggle daily to just stand up and take a few steps, comb their hair, speak, eat, things we do effortlessly and without much thought. With each victory they make joy and gratitude light up their faces and their loved ones. Sometimes just the simple ability to utter a few functional words to ask for something is greatly appreciated. Many are truly grateful they survived a car accident, fall or a stroke. I noticed that those who were grateful made the greater gains and or better adjustments to their deficits.

The act of being grateful alone can lead to a more healthy and happy life. This is not a new idea. It goes back thousands of years; it’s talked about in the Bible, by philosophers and spiritual leaders. Now science has backed up the benefits of being grateful. I must admit, this is an area that I did not pay enough attention to. Many times I found myself numb to what was right in front of me, such as missed opportunities with my son, mother, family, friends, etc. Opportunities that I didn’t value much at the time, because I was too busy to appreciate what I had in those moments. My mother is gone now and how I wish I could turn back the clock and spend more quality time with her. I really miss her. Yes, I was generally thankful for what people did for me, all that I have and can do. However, I didn’t fully engage in being truly grateful on a consistent, daily basis.

Being grateful is not just thanking someone for a gift, or being able to purchase a house or car, or getting a promotion, though those things are something to be grateful about. I’m talking about being gratitude for everyday things: like running water, being able to perform simple tasks such as walking, the sunlight, rain, being alive, the love of family and friends, etc.

So what is gratefulness and what are the benefits science has found for being grateful?

I found this definition from Grateful – warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful

Being grateful is a choice and will be beneficial to you especially during difficult times as proven by Robert A. Emmons, a leading researcher on gratefulness. According to his studies, the benefits of being grateful are numerous. A grateful heart and mind can result in:

Improved mental health
Coping better with daily stress/being calmer
Having a stronger immune system
Being happier and having a more positive outlook on life.
Improved relationships
Improved moods/attitudes
A healthier heart
Suffer less from depression
More engaging socially

Practice gratitude by verbally and or writing down 5-10 things daily. Notice new things, specific things like someone doing something special for you. Tell someone how much you appreciate them and why. Do something kind to show your gratitude. It will make you happier and more fulfilled. Gratitude will help shift your prospective from blah to awesome!

Develop an attitude of gratitude in the good times and during the difficult times. In the good times gratitude will help you not to take things for granted and in the tough times will lift up your spirits and turn your thinking around.

“Even in the midst of the greatest difficulties you will experience in life, you can always find things for which you are truly grateful.” Brian Tracy.

And remember, the more you practice something, your brain is changing, evolving toward that practiced thought/behavior. Your brain is growing in that area, getting stronger with each attempt at perfecting your target behavior and that coupled with faith in God will truly transform your life.

Please leave a comment, questions or any suggestions you would like to share on being grateful.  I would like to know. We learn from each other.  Learning is a life-long process and we need each other to grow in Christ to live a happy and purposeful life.

Peace.  Out.