The Magic of Gratitude
It turns out —
It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.
Nothing robs us of our capacity to experience joy, like ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ - or that feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. It turns out there is a relationship to being happy, our capacity for joy and the practice of gratitude.
Its not enough to say, “I’ll be more grateful.” But, how do you make a shift and adopt tangible practices?When we take a moment to focus on the good things we DO have, we are more receptive to the feelings of joy. As a lifelong worrier, my gratitude practice has been invaluable. And I feel like it has created in me some resilience when the bad things do happen.
The brain becomes accustomed to thinking in certain patterns - but with a little trail-blazing, you can create new pathways and patterns (it’s called neuro-plasticity).
So how do you create new pathways?
Stop comparing your life, possessions, and accomplishments with those around you. Comparison is the thief of joy*
Pay Attention! You won’t know what to be grateful for if you’re not present for your life.
A little self-acceptance goes a long way. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Try putting a positive spin on the negative - “We can complain because the rose bush has thorns, or rejoice that the thorn bush has roses” Abraham Lincoln
Give yourself some room in your day to review your Gratitude: to yourself, with a friend, or in a journal.
Want to read more? Here’s an article from Omega by author Brene Brown on the relationship between joy and happiness.