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Is Gratitude One Key to Happiness?

November 26th, 2014

According to the Harvard Medical School: “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” {1} So what brings on thoughts and feelings of gratitude? I believe we must know who and what we value. Further, we need to ask ourselves internal questions to build an attitude of gratitude. Yes it rhymes and this helps and reminds. It is a matter of conditioning our minds to be grateful. The next question is ‘how do we allow our gratitude to manifest?’

Say Thank You!
‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.’ {2}Alice Walker

I once watched a young sales person skyrocket into management with two simple words: Thank You! She thanked her employees, her customers, her managers and everyone else. On the surface, it might appear that this is some sort of fake gimmick. Rather, she had come from humble beginnings. Her new job meant clothes, transportation and a sense of purpose. This example of extreme gratitude suggests that our outward behavior reflects our inner attitude.

Getting to this core feeling and intuition of deep, extreme gratitude may mean we need to remind ourselves of where we came from; who we love and the blessings that we have had in our lives. Do we love our freedom? Living in the shadow of Monticello, I am becoming aware of Human Rights.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” {3}Thomas Jefferson

I am not right because I am white. I am no better (and no worse) than you or anyone else. Equality suggests respect and I believe the best way to show that is to say Thank You to anyone who serves me. Tips also help. I AM grateful for America. It humbles me to have the parents I have and hope to God I can become more like them. I pray my heart can soften to the torment of others. Life can make us tough but it must not harden our hearts.

As we move into this Thanksgiving holiday in 2014, let’s make gratitude a habit. I believe it will make you healthier and wealthier. Saying Thank You will promote better relationships and a culture of respect. If I forgot to say this along the way, thank you. Thank you for your hard work and your contributions. Thank you for being a fellow American and for your service. Let us condition ourselves to appreciate others by counting our blessings daily. If you are healthy, then smile. If your family is safe then be grateful. If there is food on your plate, then appreciate it. Live. Be Free. Be Happy.

[1] http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/harvard_mental_health_letter/2011/november/in-praise-of-gratitude

[1] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/alice_walker.html

[1] http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

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