"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Doubled By Wonder-Happy Giving Thanks

Today I am grateful for a day to celebrate gratitude with family and food. I am also grateful that, for me, every day is a day to focus on gratefulness.

Habitual gratitude practice works if I work it.

Consider this quote:

"Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." (G.K. Chesterton) 

Happiness doubled by wonder. Positive perception of self and surrounding world doubled by wonder. Peace and calm, even in the midst of chaos. Quiet that is inviting instead of unsettling.

There are so many benefits to the gratitude practice that I do. Sharing it with others in this blog, in recovery discussions, in my monthly newspaper column, also all serve to increase both my happiness and the amazement I feel when I consider how wonderful the gift of life is, how meaningful even a mundane day can be.

I will have more gratitude, and therefore contentment, when I focus on what is going well. As Dr. Christine Carter mentions in this video on the Greater Good Science Center website, efforts (and it does take effort) at gratitude practice help our brains develop a filter that is more adept at finding blessings rather than curses. How cool is that?

It took some time, but I think I can say with some confidence that I have retrained my brain. From a default of self-pity to a default of gratefulness. It has made all the difference.

Gving thanks for so many blessings today and every day. Think about putting that gratitude in action today. An apology given or accepted with "that" family member. A group gratitude list created before sitting down to eat, or while eating. Opportunities abound. Happy giving thanks and HappyThanksgiving to all!

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