#6 CHOOSE TO BE GRATEFUL

Happiness Choice #6 - Choose to be Grateful for the life you have

CHOOSE GRATITUDE

Gratitude would be one of the top contributors to happiness. If we choose to be grateful for the circumstances of our life and the people we share our lives with, then we are well on the way to being happy without having to do much else.

A recent study from Harvard Medical School defines gratitude as follows:
The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. 


THE BIGGER PICTURE

Gratitude helps us acknowledge the goodness in our lives. As we recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside ourselves, it also helps us connect to something larger than us as individuals — it can connect us more deeply to other people, nature, or a higher power.
Other psychology research shows that gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.


The more I understand the mind and the human experience, the more I begin to suspect there is no such thing as unhappiness; there is only ungratefulness

IT'S ABOUT ATTITUDE

Many times gratitude  stems from our attitude towards our circumstances rather than the circumstances themselves. We can't control all that life decides to deal us (as much as I'd like to!) but we can certainly start focusing on our blessings rather than on the setbacks.

A wonderful example of this is a lovely man named Nick Vujicic who was born with no arms or legs and has one little foot (he calls it his chicken drumstick!) Most of us would give up and bemoan how unjustly life has treated us. Nick does the opposite - his gratitude for that little flipper foot and for the life he has just shines out. He has made a fantastic life for himself, has married a beautiful woman and fathered gorgeous children - all because he chose gratitude over wallowing in self pity. He shares his story with young people especially to help them look beyond themselves and to see what they are capable of if they choose the right attitude.

I've included a video clip of Nick that is well worth watching and if it doesn't put a smile on your face then my happiness series is certainly missing the mark!



BLESSINGS

We have so much to be grateful for in the life we have been blessed with. Remember the old song "Count your many blessings, name them one by one"? I think if we stop and look at how much we have to be grateful for then we can't help but be happier. Many people have a gratitude journal and start or finish the day by noting three things they are grateful for - big or small - and that makes a big impact on their perception of their world. Perhaps it's something we could all do when life seems less good to us than normal?


Happiness Choice #6 - Choose to be Grateful for the life you have

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36 comments

  1. OH thank you, Leanne! I'm so enjoying reading your "Choices" this month! I think it all starts with this attitude of gratitude. Gratitude requires the essence of humility which then ushers in all the other choices we make. Thanks also for sharing Nick's story - I've met him four times over the years - he is the real deal - a true ambassador for Hope and Love!

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    1. Hi and I'm SO glad you're enjoying the series! I've certainly enjoyed writing it. I think Nick is the most amazing human being in his attitude and grace and sheer joy.

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  2. What a truly amazing man Nick is. An inspiration to everyone and if he can find happiness in his daily life, then we all should be bursting with happiness every minute of every day.
    Thank you for sharing his video. It is humbling to watch.

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    1. My thoughts exactly - and now he has a beautiful wife and gorgeous children - blessed because he is a blessing to others.

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  3. Leanne, I'm always astounded and inspired by people who are born with such challenges (like Nick) but are determined to see the best in their lives. Remarkable.

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    1. He really is amazing isn't he Laurie - he puts me to shame when I start whinging about the small inconveniences in my life!

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  4. I love this! With as crazy and busy as my life is these days, I don't take too much time to just be grateful.
    Thank you for the reminder! <3

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    1. You're right Lexie - it's so easy to get caught up with the busyness of life and forget to just stop and breathe and appreciate what we have.

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  5. Great post Leanne. I posted about happiness today and linked to one of your recent posts on happiness. I hope you don't mind. #TeamLovinLife

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    1. Of course not Kathy - I love that you shared it and I loved your post too - the more we write about happiness, the more we remember to be grateful and to appreciate all that we have.

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  6. I tend to be a 'glass half empty' kind of person but... I'm getting better at recognising and acknowledging ALL I have to be grateful for. I was talking to a new therapist I'm seeing yesterday about my problem of not feeling fulfilled despite having so much and she challenged me by asking why that was wrong. Why didn't I think I could have / deserve more - if I was also able to see that I was already fortunate. That was a bit of a stumper for me.... #teamlovinlife

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    1. Hi Deb - it's funny you mentioned the glass half full thing - I've just finished writing a post for September on that exact subject and how it impacts on our view of things. I think we all deserve to have at least half a glassful don't we?

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  7. Learning to be grateful saved me from a dark place after I left the corporate life. I had read about Hailey Bartholomew and her 365 Grateful Project and how it had spread worldwide. I decided to do a 365 Grateful Project by taking a photograph a day of something I was grateful for. This lead to me deciding to start a blog on which I could share the photographs (a previous blog) as well as sparking my passion for photography. It also change how I thought and eventually it became habit to look for the good things in each day. Many people might roll their eyes at talk about gratitude but it truly is a worthwhile thing to try and make a part of your life. Thanks Leanne! :-) #TeamLovinLife

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    1. Min I love that something so simple turned your life around. I read The Happiness Project a few years ago and that helped me a lot in seeing all the good there is in life - every time I read about happiness it helps cement it more in my life - which is probably why I write about it so much!

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  8. I have to say that this can be the best way to get out of a funk---at least for me!
    Realizing how blessed I am and what I have to be thankful for is the way I start my day!
    That doesn't mean I don't get off track at times, but it's the best way to begin!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. I'm the same Jodie - counting my blessings and remembering all the good stuff in life definitely helps counter those crumby days when the grey tries to seep in.

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  9. I count my blessings and feel gratitude every day. Saw this as a guest post on Sizzling Past Sixty and pinned it. Beautiful and so true. Nancy Andres @ http://www.nancyandreswriter.com

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    1. Thanks Nancy - and lovely to meet you! I'm glad it resonated with you because it's something very close to my heart too.

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  10. Oh, my goodness, Leanne, this is amazing! I just watched that video. HE is amazing! An attitude of gratitude. I start every day with that song. My mother did and it seemed like a good idea at the time . . . Still does! ;)

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    1. He is truly inspirational isn't he Diane? His testimony reminds me to appreciate every little thing I have in my own life and to live it to the full (to the best of my ability) every day :)

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  11. This post has made something click for me - gratitude has to come from within. There's nothing more annoying than when someone says to you "oh x or y has it worse" - it's quite invalidating. I think in our focus on positivity sometimes we lose sight that it has to be internal to be genuine.

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    1. You are so right Vanessa - it took me a long time to figure the whole "you're responsible for your own happiness" thing - but once I did, it made so much sense and it releases you from the people around you and their dramas (and frees them from feeling responsible for you too!)

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  12. I'm always inspired by people like Nick who are show determination and courage. We can easily forget to look at the good in our lives and give thanks. loving your theme this month Leanne xx

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    1. Thanks Sue - and you're right, Nick is inspirational and a great reminder to us all that we can make so much of our lives if we are prepared to be grateful for what we already have.

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  13. Thank you for these words. I needed this direction today. It's a choice

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    1. That's it in a nutshell isn't it? It's a choice and the choice is ours - we just have to remember to empower ourselves to make the choice and to choose positively.

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  14. Nick Vujicic is such an inspiration! I saw a DVD of him and read Life Without Limits some years ago, before he got married - and now I hear they have a 3rd baby on the way :-)

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    1. I think they're actually having twins Janet - he has created a beautiful life for himself and his family when (with a different attitude) it could have ended up so differently - I love seeing him pop up occasionally on my FB feed.

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  15. This post is my favorite so far. I believe gratitude is the foundation of everyday happiness. You're so right - it's all in the attitude.

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    1. It definitely is all about our attitude Melody - how we choose to view a situation and taking responsibility for our response - we need to choose to see the good stuff and to be grateful for what we have rather than what we think we don't have.

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  16. I so totally agree with everything you've said in this post Leanne. An attitude of gratitude is definitely the secret to happiness in my experience :) #TeamLovinLife

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    1. It's something I've come to really believe in Lyndall - if we can't be grateful for what we have in our lives, then nothing that comes along is going to give us sustained happiness. We'll always be fluctuating from one pleasure hit to the next.

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  17. Gratitude is the secret to happiness for sure. #teamlovinlife

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    1. Exactly Leanne - and one we can all get on board with!

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  18. Leanne, This something that I wrote about when I first started by blog. I initially struggled with keeping a gratitude journal, so renamed it my sparkle journal. This is where I note down things that make me sparkle each day. It has really helped bring back a positive vibe to my universe and also was the start of my blog & soon to be business.

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  19. Leanne,
    Wow, Jake's story is amazing. What a special person. It certainly makes you appreciate what you have. I try to be grateful all the time and stay positive, and then you see someone like Jake and you know you have no reason not to be.
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful posts at Over The Moon Party.
    See you next week.
    Hugs,
    Bev

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