Want Joy? Do This!
A well-known research study found that consistently grateful people are 25% happier than those who aren’t.
Yes, twenty-five percent!
If you want that kind of joy, then start practicing gratitude.
I say practice because gratitude is a skill. Humans tend to lean toward the negative, so we need to put in the work until thankfulness becomes second nature.
A solid first step is to start a gratitude journal.
Seriously, get a notebook and pen and start writing.
Have you ever read the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp? She encourages her readers to write down a thousand things they’re thankful for.
You heard that right, one thousand.
You don’t have to write them all at once, but make a thousand thanks-givings your first goal toward becoming a more grateful person.
You’ve likely heard the phrase, “practice makes perfect,” but in this case, practice makes present.
Gratitude helps you become present to the good things all around.
I began my list a few years ago and have had many stops and starts, but the practice of gratitude has significantly transformed my perspective for the better.
It’s easy to name the big stuff— family, friends, tacos.
It takes more practice to notice all the little things we overlook and take for granted.
- This soft chair
- the warmth of my coffee mug
- this quiet, spacious room
- a crackling candle
- the intricacies of that spider web
I always think of William Wilberforce in the movie Amazing Grace:
I have 10,000 engagements of state today but I would prefer to spend the day out here getting a wet arse, studying dandelions and marveling at bloody spider’s webs.
This is the kind of grateful awareness that transforms.
We all know gratitude isn’t based on positive circumstances. People who seem to have it all — health, wealth, privilege — are some of the most ungrateful and sad.
The opposite is also true.
I spent a few months in one of the world's poorest countries and met many people who were exceptionally joyous and peaceful.
We each have lenses that we view the world through. I’m not suggesting you put on a pair of rose-colored glasses.
Gratitude doesn’t minimize or deny the painful realities of life.
Instead, gratitude illuminate the beauty and goodness that’s present even in the midst of adversity.
Developing a thankful heart will transform you into the kind of person who notices all the good stuff, regardless of your circumstances.
Choosing to see the world through grateful eyes makes life more vibrant and wonderful. I know this may sound too simplistic, but that’s what’s so remarkable about it. Quite literally, anyone can do it.
So, become the kind of person who marvels at spider webs.
Your life will overflow with joy.