The Floodgates of Gratitude

Gratitude makes us happier. So how can we get more grateful to get more happiness?

Here’s how it works: joy and gratitude are related. The more grateful you are, the more joyful you become. And because you are joyful, you increase your level of gratitude for — well — everything. Pretty soon, you are bursting with so much joy that people start to wonder what you’re up to. And that’s where the fun really gets going.

Gratitude starts with looking at what you have. Somehow we have been conditioned to strive for that which we have not yet attained. That gets us on the hamster-wheel-gotta-run-faster track. We race. We sweat. We grab at the dangling carrot. But somehow it is just out of our reach because every time we think we’ve ‘got it now,’ we get sidetracked with something ‘even better’. That kind of thinking will make you certifiably crazy. Or it’ll kill you. Whichever comes first.

Instead of engaging in the imaginary race to nowhere, what if we were to slow down for a moment and take inventory of all the things we already have?

It’s like cleaning out the basement (which I did recently – God bless you, Klaus. That was a grateful experience!). You suddenly can’t believe how many plastic forks you possess that you will never, ever use again. Or all the things we accumulate over the years — that china cup we held lovingly in our hands as we opened it under the Christmas tree; the basket we filled with food for our family; the handbag we once thought fashionable, but now is simply embarrassing. We realize how much we have lived by the scars our possessions carry. For some of us, they are evidence that we have lived at all.

Maybe you don’t have a basement full of stuff, but I bet you have more than you realize when you start to look around you. Instead of looking at the missing cash in your bank account, start looking at the filled hearts that surround you — because of you.

In my view, relationships enrich our lives far more than anything we could ever possess such as a boat, a fancy car or a vacation home. It is nice to have those things, but if it means taking away lots of time from the people I love to get them, I’d rather pass.

Open the floodgates of gratitude today. Count the many, many blessings you have. Share them with others, including how grateful you are for those people.

Gratitude, like laughter, is contagious. You may just spark a revolution with your awesomeness.

And well, by golly, that just creates more gratitude and joy and juice.

You see where I’m going with this?

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