One might argue that a good life presents no greater challenge nor gift than the pursuit of one’s own happiness. A fundamental function of humanity is our common attempt to find satisfaction externally. It is our very nature to seek pleasure from the world around us that extends just beyond the grasp of our limited reach, placing us in an endlessly-revolving state of yearning.
In a world filled with so much to offer, we find ourselves constantly seeking, searching, praying for something more. In and of itself, the pursuit of happiness is not an evil deed. However, not knowing where, how, or with whom to find it can prove to be a cold and lonely existence.
As it turns out, the answer to our question and quest may be closer than we thought. Like the reading on your car’s GPS navigation display might reveal at the conclusion of a long road trip, “you have arrived at your destination”. Happiness and hope can be found in gratitude, and gratitude can be manufactured in abundance with a little imagination and practice. Most of us have it, and therefore need to look no further than our present circumstance to realize that the road trip to happiness might lay a path with fewer twists and turns than otherwise expected.
Recent studies have shown a strong correlation between gratitude and happiness. The question still remains as to whether gratitude drives happiness, or whether it is a function of the common trait among those who seem to express greater levels of happiness; the proverbial chicken and egg conundrum. We all know friends and foes among us who are either glass-half-full or glass-half-empty types. They are usually one or the other but never both.
A 2016 Harvard University study indicates the three specific ways to express gratitude: “The first is by referring to the past to reflect on positive memories. The second, to be in the present, without taking anything for granted. The third is to maintain a positive outlook on the future.”
What does gratitude mean? The dictionary definition says it is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return the kindness.”
The steps toward incorporating gratitude in our life can be achieved if we change our perspective. Life has so much to offer if we take the time to be present and receive it.
Live Well, love well, & be well!