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Gratitude: The Key to Happiness

Gratitude: The Key to Happiness

By Peter Shepherd

Gratitude is often overlooked or taken for granted. No big deal, just for birthdays. However, I feel that actually it is crucial. Indeed, it is the key to happiness.

It's impossible to feel grateful and in the same moment depressed, angry or afraid. People who live the most fulfilling lives are the ones who are always rejoicing at what they have. If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, your heart will soon be filled with love and understanding, a feeling that nurtures the soul. As Meister Eckhardt says, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

Sarah Breathnach says, “When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that is present... we experience heaven on earth.”

The very best way to bring good things into your life is to be grateful for the abundance that you already have.

The more you get into this way of perceiving the world, in the present moment, grateful for all the connections you have, all that’s going on, and authentic to your own values – you can’t help but be incredibly happy with a big smile. Indeed, gratitude and integrity are the keys to happiness.

Challenges are opportunities

The problems and challenges of life are opportunities for personal growth and each of our experiences are best seen in that light: with gratitude. As J.C. Penney said, “I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties.”

And Melody Beattie: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

We are happy when we feel gratitude. We feel gratitude more when we are perceiving the present moment, mind clear of worries and heart full with love. This is the key to happiness.

As David Steindl-Rast said, “In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”

Oprah Winfrey too: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

The more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given to you.

Gratefulness meditation

Find time in the day (or before you go to sleep) for this gratefulness meditation:

I am grateful for... Being myself
I am grateful for... Communication
I am grateful for... Understanding
I am grateful for... Compassion
I am grateful for... Intelligence
I am grateful for... Intuition
I am grateful for... The things I can learn
I am grateful for... The smiles I receive
I am grateful for... The presence of God
I am grateful for... The wonder of Nature
I am grateful for... Night and day
I am grateful for... The sensations of my body
I am grateful for... My friends
I am grateful for... My family
I am grateful for... My partner
I am grateful for... My community
I am grateful for... My possessions
I am grateful for... My clothes
I am grateful for... My pets
I am grateful for... My meals
I am grateful for... My home
I am grateful for... My work
I am grateful for... Time to rest and time to play
I am grateful for... The love and caring I receive
I am grateful for... The ever-changing weather
I am grateful for... Interesting ideas that can motivate and inspire me
I am grateful for... The people in my life
I am grateful for... The love within my heart
I am grateful for... Music, books, films, art
I am grateful for... The Internet
I am grateful for... The opportunity to help others
I am grateful for... The ability to feel great!
I am grateful for... Abundance that surrounds all of us
I am grateful for... Having so many ways to share my creativity with the world
I am grateful for... The positive changes occurring daily in my life
I am grateful for... All my clients / customers
I am grateful for... Those who connect with me on the Internet
I am grateful for... All the animals in the world
I am grateful for... My human rights
I am grateful for... My liberty
I am grateful for... My values
I am grateful for... My beliefs
I am grateful for... My creativity
I am grateful for... Those who maintain the civilization around me
I am grateful for... My teachers
I am grateful for... People who have fought to protect my way of life
I am grateful for... The beauty that surrounds me everywhere I go
I am grateful for... My health and the health of those I love
I am grateful for... Memories
I am grateful for... This moment
I am grateful for... Life itself
Right now, I am most grateful for...

Did you know that the very best way to bring good things into your life is to be grateful for the good things that you already have? We each have a lot to be grateful for:

  • If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more fortunate than the one million people who will not survive this week.
  • If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.
  • If you can attend a church or political meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, then you are more blessed than three billion in the world.
  • If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in your pocket, then you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

Start of the day:

Start every day by thinking of all the things for which you're thankful. Even things as simple as your bed, your pillow and your room. Then add friends and family members and the blessing of a fulfilling job and enough income to pay for the things you most need. Every day your list grows, along with a sense of well-being and gratitude. Also add the affirmation:

“Today I can give out and receive love wherever I go.”

Smile at the world and it will smile back at you! When one is grateful it is an expression of self-acceptance. Needs and fears go out the window. This paves the way to an unconditional appreciation of others and a new paradigm for harmony in all relationships.

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Podcast: Gratitude: The Key to Happiness
Gratitude is often overlooked or taken for granted. No big deal, just for birthdays. However, I feel that actually it is crucial. Indeed, it is the key to happiness.
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Peter Shepherd
Peter Shepherd
Peter Shepherd is the founder and producer of this website. A transformational psychologist by background, he is author of 'Transforming the Mind' and 'Daring to be Yourself.' He is also developer and supervisor of The Insight Project. Learn more about Peter's life experience and his views on many subjects at his Biography Page.
Raise Your Vibration
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