HOME>> HABIT #4 Practice happiness...with a thankful heart
We will never encounter a happy person without a heart of gratitude.
A thankful heart is truly a merry heart. The key is believing that life is good, and we share in its goodness. Every day we’re presented with opportunities to be thankful for something or someone. Oftentimes, blessings are taken for granted or overlooked altogether. We get our focus on what we don’t have instead. And we miss the simple, everyday goodness in our lives that can bring us much joy. Recognizing, appreciating, and enjoying a loving hug, help with a chore, a new home furnishing, ability to pay a bill, and so forth can help us develop a daily habit of gratitude. A heart of gratitude happens one blessing at a time.
We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. ~Fredrick Koeing
Gratitude is like love and joy in that the more you give away the more you have in return. In this activity, we can practice happiness by expressing our gratitude. There are many different ways to show someone appreciation and gratitude. Think of someone for whom you are thankful. Choose a way you can let them know: in words (cards, letters, phone calls, text messages, emails), gifts, by doing something for them, devoting you time and attention to them, giving hugs and affection, and so forth.
Beautiful, Heartfelt Poem
The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions—the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heart-felt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge
In this activity, we can practice happiness by acknowledging the good things in our lives. With practice, it will become more natural for us to recognize, appreciate, and enjoy our blessings. Use a notebook or word processor and label it Gratitude Journal. Record the date on the top of each entry. Every night for a week, before going to bed, write down:
Someone you are thankful for today and how they’ve been a blessing to you. It can be anyone—friend, relative, co-worker, stranger.
For example:I’m thankful for the clerk at the store who went out of his way to help me find what I was looking for. I’m thankful for the woman who shared her story that touched my heart and encouraged my faith. I’m thankful for my son, whose jokes made me laugh and smile warmed my heart.
Something tangible that you are thankful for and why it’s a blessing to you.
For example: I’m thankful that I found all the ingredients I needed for my new recipe at the store today. I’m thankful for my new tool that helped me repair an appliance today. I’m thankful for the hot chocolate that warmed me up after shoveling the snow.
Something intangible that you are thankful for and why it’s a blessing to you.
For example: I'm thankful for the compliment I received....a new insight...something that went well today... a discovery I made...a phone call I received...a task completed....a good deal, and so forth.
A basic law: the more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for. This, of course, is a fact. Thankfulness does tend to reproduce in kind. The attitude of gratitude revitalizes the entire mental process by activating all other attitudes, thus stimulating creativity. ~Norman Vincent Peale