5 Reasons Grateful People Are Happy People
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday here in the USA, our minds naturally turn to things we're thankful for. It's interesting that how many "things" you've accumulated have very little bearing on how grateful you are. Think of Dicken's "A Christmas Carol." Scrooge, who had all the "things" in this world was an unhappy, miserly, miserable man. Bob Cratchet, on the other hand, who had virtually nothing, was very happy. That happiness or lack thereof, was based almost entirely on their respective level of gratitude. Scrooge never did express gratitude for anything or anyone. Bob Cratchit's family, meager as their circumstances were, seemed to always express gratitude for what little they had. Like most good stories, "The Christmas Carol" was based in truth and it taught truth. It's true that people who live a life wherein the good things are recognized and appreciated are happier than those who are never happy with what they have or what they've done in their lives. Following are five reasons grateful people are happier than those who aren't as grateful. See what you think. There are undoubtedly more, but these will get you started. They Have More Positive Emotions You could say this another way by saying, "They're less depressed." Depression seems to be getting more and more common these days. We live a quality of life and ease that is unparalleled in human history, and yet there is a greater incidence of depression worldwide than has ever existed. If we truly want to be happy, we need to stop and look at all the things we have to be grateful for and give thanks to whatever God we worship (or, for those who don't worship a God, give thanks to the universe for what you have. Just recognizing all the good in your life will put you on the path.) They Feel More Alive Focusing on what you don't have will kill any excitement or enthusiasm for life you might otherwise have had. If you're constantly worried about what you don't have, or constantly chasing something more than what you currently have, it's pretty hard to really feel alive. There's something truly refreshing about filling your lungs with clean, crisp air and taking a minute to reflect on all the good things that have come your way in the last days or weeks or years. Doing that will make you feel more keenly what you have today and feel more joy in this life we're living. Grateful People Sleep Better When you live with an attitude of gratitude your troubles don't seem quite so insurmountable. You're not so close to the ragged edge. Being more centered makes it easier to sink into a deep sleep and stay there throughout the night. And let's face it. If you have a terrible night, you're not a happy person the next day. A long string of bad nights can lead to a diminished quality of life. They Are More Compassionate And Kind It's pretty hard to focus on the needs of others when you're blinded by your own needs. When you expend all your energy taking care of you, there's basically nothing left for anyone else. The sad part of that is, happiness in this life comes largely from the things we do to make the lives of others better. When we're too tired or too distracted to really be kind and compassionate, we miss a lot of the happiness this world has to offer. They Enjoy A Stronger Immune System Because they live a more "centered" life, grateful people aren't subject to the same degree of stress that others are. That same system that fights disease is also responsible to fight the effects of excess stress. When we take away the stress though living a grateful life, we have an increased capacity to fight off disease. Fewer colds and flu certainly leads to a better quality of life and increased happiness. Conclusion: There's nothing magic about finding what's good in your life and feeling appreciation for it. Even people in the worst of circumstances can find much to be grateful for if they start looking. All we have to do to enjoy the above benefits is close our eyes for a second and recognize that there is much to appreciate in our lives and let those feeling of appreciation flow for a few seconds. You don't need to spend any money. You don't need any special equipment. You just close your eyes wherever you are and let those feelings of gratitude flow over you. From that moment on your happiness starts to improve. The interesting thing is, the more you do it, the easier it is. If you're in a tough place right now, it might take 2-3 minutes to think of a few things that are going well. But as you do it, the list gets longer and longer and it comes to your mind faster and faster. Maybe you've felt additional benefits from your attitude of gratitude. If so, please list them in the comments section below. And remember, the holidays should be a time of joy and gladness. To get your share of holiday happiness, start looking for things for which you're grateful today. You'll be surprised how easy it is after a few days. And you'll be surprised how much better something so simple can make you feel.