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The Key to Happiness: An Attitude of Gratitude

I have discovered that one of the best ways to increase your levels of happiness and general well-being in life is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. In the course of my ongoing quest for personal development, I have read a lot of self-help/pop psychology books and they all say the same thing: focus on the positive and be grateful. It really does work. When things are going badly, when you have huge problems and feel that you have nothing good in your life, you can still always find something to be thankful for. Sometimes, it is just the basic needs, those daily things we take for granted: e.g food, a bed to sleep in, a roof over your head, hot water for a shower, your health, your eyesight, the use of your limbs, and having people in your life who care about you, i.e. family and friends. None of those blessings are insignificant: imagine if you didn’t have them, how much you would miss them and suffer! That really reminds you to be grateful for them and appreciate them.

The thing to do, to get the best results, is to make gratitude a daily practice: start consciously noticing and giving thanks for all of the good things, blessings and advantages in your life, and record them somehow. I usually make  a list now: I write down between 5 and 10 things I am grateful for on that day. I find, if I am unhappy to start with, I feel a lot better after making the list.  The more I practice gratitude, the more I find to be grateful for. I write down things like the summer blossoms which are all around at present, which make me feel good, having a long hot lavender-scented bath,  a delicious meal I recently had, besides all of the more significant things, like rewarding mutually-supportive relationships, my creativity and ability to earn money through it, how much I enjoy travel and  the wonderful holidays I have had, my good health, and so on.

There really are many things to be grateful for, if we just take the trouble to stop and consider them. I think it is just that we need to remind ourselves, and make it a daily ritual, daily maintenance, similar to our rituals for showering, eating, keeping fit, etc.

(The picture here is of the rose bed in my street, now in full bloom, which is something I am thankful for, every time I see it.)

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Written by Maggie Bailey

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