Keys To Happiness #2–Be Grateful

Do you want to be happy? Some people complain so much about all that is wrong and all they don’t have, that I sometimes wonder if the act of complaining meets some need inside them. Or if having others listen to their complaints making them the center of attention is what they’re truly after. If either or both of those is true, then their bar for happiness is set very low. How sad.

Happiness Tip #2:  Be grateful. Period. And what I mean by be grateful is intentionally think about the fact that you have air in your lungs, you have a brain that functions well enough to see this, you have eyes that are reading this…you get the idea. Being grateful is an intentional action. It’s not passive. I suppose some people are naturally grateful, but most are not. In our culture especially, with marketing constantly barraging us with advertisements for things we aren’t supposed to be able to live without or that we’re a loser if we don’t have, it sometimes requires great effort to be grateful for what we have without the vague sense that we aren’t supposed to be whole or happy without the subjects of those advertisements.

I’m all for achievement and goal attainment, but if you don’t stop to recognize and celebrate what you have, what you’ve already achieved, and what you’ve already acquired (both the tangible material things and the priceless intangibles like good relationships with good people and good health), you’ll find yourself on a hamster wheel of living for the next goal or acquisition. The problem with that is that it never ends. There will always be another goal, the next acquisition, and the next challenge to overcome.

To pause the non-stop roller coaster of goal attainment, create a “reset” for yourself. STOP for a moment. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes.  Notice that you are able to continue breathing without a new car, bigger house, that new outfit, or whatever it is that’s the subject of the most recent thing that you feel is a condition to true happiness. When your mind starts to wander to what you think you must have, notice that thought and then refocus on your breathing. Think of the many things you can be grateful for. Focus for a second or two on each thing before going on to the next. The highest value items on this list should be those that have a heartbeat.

Think of being grateful as a verb. It must be actively done. Generate gratitude for the priceless things that cannot be bought like good relationships with good people and good health. Make gratitude a goal to achieve.

You may be surprised at how much happier you will be when you have a sense of gratitude—gratitude to be alive, gratitude that you can see, can read, can get around, etc. The feeling of gratitude with increase your positivity, and positivity will increase your happiness. And when you’re happy, you model for others how to be happy.

Check back for more happiness tips.


Rhonda Sciortino, author of Successful Survivors , used the coping skills from an abusive childhood to achieve real success which she measures by good relationships, good health, peace, joy, and financial prosperity. Through her writing, speaking, and media appearances, she shares how others can use the obstacles in their lives as stepping stones to their real success. Rhonda can be reached at [email protected]

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