The more I learn about happiness, the clearer it is to me that gratitude plays a crucial role. I’ll go out on a limb and say that if we aren’t grateful then we can’t be happy. We might feel entitled, or disappointed, or resentful – all obstacles to happiness. Another thing I’m learning is that gratitude is very much a habit. Like any sort of thinking, the more you do it the easier it becomes and soon it is a very natural part of how you think because you’ve rewired your brain to do it automatically. I know a lot of people aren’t into New Year’s resolutions – years of trying and failing to get a new habit up and running perfectly from day one takes its toll! – but try this on for size: “In 2014 I’m going to be happier.” Hard to pass that up, right? It’s so do-able! Just noticing a little bit more often when someone is kind to you, or doing a good job, or has affected your life in some positive way – no matter how small! – and then sometimes sharing your gratitude with them… just this small shift can make you happier. Because it’ll become easier to do the more you do it, so you’ll do it more and more, and you’ll be making others feel good every time you share it with them (so they’re more likely to do that thing more, and possibly pay it forward)… it’s the New Year’s gift that keeps on giving.
Happy New Year, everyone!