If you want to be happier, do this

November 22nd, 2018
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. G.K. Chesterton

It seems that just about every article I’ve read on the keys to happiness or fulfillment or spiritual well-being includes a common denominator. No matter how long the list, showing gratitude seems to show up.

The practice of gratitude — saying thank you, showing appreciation, recognizing someone’s contribution — has a way of de-centering us from thinking we are at the center of the universe. It reminds us that we’re all in this together. It says I can’t do this on my own. Thanks for showing up. It acknowledges that my life is better because you’re in it. Thank you for being here. It helps us become more and more aware that life — all of life — is a gift. We didn’t cause ourselves to be born any more than we created the air we breathe. We cannot ever escape the reality that we are perpetually beholden to another for the life we have. No small amount of the fullness of life somehow finds its way onto someone else’s tab.

Plus, research has tied the practice of showing gratitude to all kinds of positive emotional and physical health benefits, like being more optimistic, having more energy, being less isolated and more socially connected, as well as being less prone to getting sick.

For those reasons and more, showing gratitude fosters humility and grounds us in grace, which, as far as I can tell, seems to be a good place to be. I suppose that’s why the apostle Paul said that a lifestyle marked by giving thanks in all situations is God’s will for our lives.

In short, if you want to be happier, do this: practice gratitude.

I for one could be more intentional about saying thank you in specific ways. I suspect we all could. Maybe this Thanksgiving would be a good time to start. 

"If you want to be happier, do this" originally appeared at GreggLouisTaylor.com. Reprinted with permission.

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