Think Yourself Happy Change #5: Gratitude

palm-treesGratitude is appreciation in the now. It is love for what is. It is a state of grace. Living in gratitude is the perpetual act of being thankful. This state is also one of the deepest, most meaningful and sustainable forms of happiness there is. This feeling is available to you at any time you choose.

One of my favorite quotes is the following:

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.
Epicurus

Take a moment and think of three things you are grateful for in your life. hold a clear picture of them in your mind, and notice how you feel about them. Feel thankful for these things right now. Think of nothing other than how happy you are that these things, people, and situations exist in your life, just for you, right now.

I want to go a step or two further because gratitude is so powerful. You can use gratitude to pull you out of a mental rut, or bad mood, it can lift you from anger and help you through grief. Gratitude will eliminate thoughts of “Why me?” or “Why not me?” It will center you right where you need to be, when you need to be there. It’s free, easy, and beneficial — so how can we remind ourselves to go there more often? We mean to, but we are over-stimulated all day and are busy doing other things.

In order to effectively create a habit, you must repeat the same activity regularly for a minimum of 21 days. So do the following three practices for the next three weeks.

  1. Starting today, think of two things you are grateful for, and every day add at least two more items to that list. At the end of 21 days you will have a minimum of 42 things, large and small, that you are grateful to have in your life.
  2. When you wake up from any sleep, before you get up, do two things. First, be grateful. Be grateful for waking up! Then think of the list of things you are grateful for, and be happy about each of them.
  3. From there prepare to get moving, with intention. Even before you stand up, have a vision in mind for how you would like your day to go. Be specific. What are you are putting out into the world? Who is counting on you and how are you showing up for them? Feel grateful to have the day you have envisioned ahead of you. Be clear on your intentions, and make it happen in a big way with enthusiasm, confidence and energy!

Take on this “gratitude practice,” and your life will change massively. In 21 days you will have it, and you will want to continue this practice for the rest of your life. You get to choose how to feel, why wouldn’t you start every day being grateful and directed?

There you have it — the five changes in thinking that will immediately improve your life. You must change your thinking through visualization, positive anticipation, choosing your meanings, perspective, and by practicing gratitude. These paradigms of thinking are developed and strengthened over time; you are conditioning yourself to feel fantastic every day, mind and body.

At first it is not easy to remember to do the things that benefit us, but in this case, the results are staggering. Once you start implementing these short, proven happiness strategies, you will notice immediately a massive improvement in every area of your life. The results will happen immediately without any lag time. Enjoy the process and share this with everyone.

And expect great things!

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