Thursday, November 12, 2015

practicing grateful

All of us are on a journey. On our very own less traveled path most likely.

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I think it's safe to say we all want to be happy and to find happiness along this journey. The problem is- we don't always know what real happy looks like, or how to find the kind that has staying power.

We may try to buy happy. Or stockpile future happy based on some contingency. You know- those sentences that start with, "As soon as X happens- then I'll be happy." But then you realize there is always, always another X we need and not enough time for happy.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I am thinking more about what it means to be thankful. I want to learn how to sew a thread of grateful throughout my entire life, because I'm certain gratitude and happiness are correlated. Research has proven that just a little gratitude is essential for happiness. Which makes sense because how can we be happy unless we are content with what we already have? The good news is gratitude is something we are all capable of. It's learned that the trick isn't to get X, the trick is to love and appreciate all the X's that are already ours.

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It's so easy to lose track of what we have and instead focus on what we want. It's easy to compare our lives to others and feel as if we fall short. It's easy to count and multiply our problems or turn small things into unsurmountable problems. But when done too much, all of those things come with a life sentence of unhappiness. And I don't think any of us willingly chooses unhappiness.

I think thankfulness is something that can be practiced, never mastered. It's got to be small and frequent and genuine. Not some big sweeping once a year statement like, "I'm grateful for my family and my home and my health. The end." I think real gratitude is best practiced daily, in a million different small ways.

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I'm grateful for deep thinking expression number 7,362

Grateful for the first blessed sip of coffee every single morning. Appreciative of a steaming hot shower all by myself. Grateful for their poop that makes it into the potty. Grateful for Fall Fuji apples and the smell of his baby fine hair as I rock him to sleep. Grateful for my village. Grateful for warm socks. Grateful for you folks here, reading these words and discovering the world at the same time as me.

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Just thinking about these things makes me happy. A happy I wouldn't have if I didn't take time to focus on it. Take time to focus on it. Happiness can't have contingencies. It doesn't cost money. It's fleeting for a reason- because we need to keep discovering it while living out our journey.

Right now, think of 5 simple things that make you happy. Share your list with others. You just might realize that a little thankfulness actually can change the world.

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