Pursuit of Happiness- Being Grateful

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Gratitude comes in many forms. When we were kids, our parents, wanting us to be grateful for everything they sacrificed for us, focused on the “stuff”. But as we reflect on this we learned that gratitude is not “stuff”, gratitude is an emotion. When we remember the happy memories of when we received the new bike, book, car etc., then we experienced gratitude.

My mother always insisted that when I received a gift I must write a thank you note. I can remember thinking that a verbal ‘thank you’ was enough, but as I grew older and I received written ‘thank you’ notes, I realized that gratitude expressed verbally or written was a source of happiness for me.

So, how do we pursue gratitude? Here are some things to consider:

  1. Take a Gratitude Break. Some people do this when they first wake up or one of the last things before sleep. One way to articulate gratitude is at the dinner table with  your family.

  2. Be present in your moments. A friend of ours wrote us a brief note of thanks recently. We had invited him and his girlfriend to a Museum event that we enjoyed and he wrote: “Thank you for sharing your present moments with us.”

  3. Scale back. While social media is great, you can totally loose hours while “just checking email and facebook. I’ll be with you in a few minutes.”  Before you know it, time has slipped away and your dinner is cold and that TV show is over!

  4. Start a Gratitude Journal.  How to do it? Here are some tips:

  •  Write 3 or more things daily in your journal. Avoid repeating the same things. As you challenge yourself to discover new things to be grateful for, you’ll start watching and listening for new gratitude experiences.
  •  It’s easy to list the material things – your home, your car, your phone, but what is hard is why you are grateful for these things. How do you feel about your home? Write about your feelings of security and comfort.
  • In addition to material things, there’s your talents and those things in your life that help you create your world. Start with the basics – your ability to write, see, watch, listen and being a good friend.
  • Write about the people in your life and how they make you feel. It’s easy to write about friends, family but how about that difficult co-worker?
  • Write about situations and events- happy times and sad times.

As you write about your Gratitude Moments, you will quickly find that as you continue writing in your journal, your expectations and emotions will become positive and you will certainly be happier.

GrandparentsFamily

‘Til next time,

~Sallie

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