It has been my experience that an attitude of gratitude is a surefire way to attain happiness. After all, gratitude and happiness go hand-in-hand-kind of like peanut butter and jelly. Sounds a little sappy, but it’s true! Acknowledging the things you are grateful for is all about perspective. When we choose to see the beautiful moments in life, despite all of the ugliness, we are making the conscious decision to be happy.
Admittedly, sometimes the struggles we endure in life will leave us feeling less than gracious. I did not always see my metaphorical glass as half full. The question we must ask ourselves then is, “How can I be happy when life has me feeling so low?” Here’s how:
Step 1–See the big picture.
Financial troubles were the thing that would always defeat me. Money seemed to quickly run out, but the bills never went anywhere. How do I pay for this? How do I accommodate for that? There were many times when I just did not want to be grateful. I used to think, “Why should I be thankful? What do I have to be thankful for?” I was in store for a huge gratitude adjustment.
One day, when I was feeling particularly ungrateful, my pity-party was interrupted by a special news report. There had been yet another school shooting and many parents had lost their children. It hit me hard and made me confront the reality that life can change for any one of us in just the blink of an eye. I cried; not just because I was sad but also because I was humiliated. How dare I be so ungrateful? Okay, maybe I had to go without some tangible items but at least I still had my family.
Step 2–Change your perspective.
I had to shift my way of seeing things because, truth be told, happiness is all about how you choose to see your world. Even when you think there is nothing in your life worthy of gratitude, every day we are given a blessing when we simply wake up.
Step 3–If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.
I speak from experience when I say that sometimes you have to keep on keeping on. I wasn’t always one who could smile in the face of adversity, but from the moment I made the conscious decision to be thankful, to be happy, my life changed. Day-by-day and situation-by-situation, things got better. I combatted thoughts of self-pity with an attitude of thankfulness and happiness followed.
The key is to remember that you can choose the reality in which you live. Which way do you want to live?
In the Realities of Ungratefulness
- Brings about self-pity
- Limits your opportunities
- Stunts spiritual growth
In the Realities of Gratefulness
- Brings about happiness
- Increases opportunities
- Promotes spiritual growth
In short…be grateful! I have found that the happiest people out there are also the most grateful. They don’t present themselves to be superheroes who know it all, but just people who choose to appreciate the best in of every situation. It’s a joyous thing.
If you want to exchange you gloominess for happiness, I urge you to follow the steps listed. And if you need a little more help, let the counseling team at The Stone Foundation support you on your way to a happier, more grateful you.
Victoria Johnson is a Communications major who maintains honors status at the Anne Arundel Community College. She currently writes for The Baltimore Times and has written for the AACC school newspaper, The Campus Current. Victoria’s talent stems beyond her writing and schooling. She is also the co-founder of God’s Jewels, a charitable organization designed to benefit individuals in Africa who seek spiritual enlightenment.