The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful. – David Steindl-Rast
Yes, it might feel great to win the lottery. Money, houses, travel – these are wonderful, but not enough by themselves. You need the right frame of mind to fully enjoy life. You need the attitude of gratitude.
Life is better when you feel blessed, when you can look around and say “Thank you, God.” Religious or not, when you see life as a wonderful gift, your experience is a richer one than any amount of money can provide.
It’s tempting to think gratitude comes from having what you want. You see yourself giving thanks if you had money, a loving family, and maybe a house on the beach. Still, you know there are ungrateful, unhappy people with these things, and poor people full of gratitude for what little they have. Where does this feeling come from?
Gratitude arises from how you look at things. It is the natural feeling that comes from truly appreciating the people and things in your life. It is also something you can learn.
First, you have to stop and smell the roses. You can’t be thankful for something you don’t notice or enjoy. Roses really do smell great, by the way.
Then, you need to make this appreciative approach to roses and life a habit. There’s no need to ignore the ugliness in the world, but you have to habitually see the beautiful things.
Start writing down every positive thing that happens to you, and all the things you like. Do this until you start automatically seeing the good things in life. If you’ve ever bought a white car, and started seeing white cars all over, you know how awareness can alter your perception of reality. To see wonderful things all over, train yourself to look for them.
When you are in the habit of “counting your blessings,” gratitude, and a much richer experience of life is the natural result.