Since becoming a consistently happy person is such an important, powerful part of living an enjoyable, depression-free life, it’s helpful to understand the connection between gratitude and happiness, and why being thankful for things naturally makes you a happier person.
Right now, you’re going to learn how being consistently thankful for positive things in your life benefits you so much, as well as how to cultivate gratitude daily so that you find it easier to become and remain a happy, depression-free person.
Why is gratitude important & beneficial?
Think of gratitude as being a powerful form of positive thinking that contributes to greater happiness, and by doing so, naturally makes life more enjoyable, meaningful, and worthwhile.
To understand this, remember that when you learned how to be happy with yourself, you learned that the feeling of happiness is created via the following forms of thinking:
- Focusing on something of positive value to you
- Accepting that positive value as good enough for you to be pleased and satisfied with it
- Thinking that it’s ok and great to feel happy, and allowing yourself to feel happy
If you think about it, gratitude naturally has a couple of these ingredients for happiness already baked into it.
After all, if you’re thankful for something, you naturally see positive value in something, and you also naturally accept the positive value you see as good enough for you to be pleased and satisfied with it, since you’re thankful for it.
The only missing ingredient for happiness is allowing yourself to feel happy.
How to be happy with what you have
A simple formula: having gratitude + allowing yourself to feel happy = you naturally feeling happy.
To understand why it’s so important for you to allow yourself to be happy, consider how you could be thankful for the food you have at a meal, and still not feel happy, since you think it’s “wrong” to feel happy when there’s so much starvation in the world, or when there’s so much illness in your family, or when you lost your job, and so on.
The big lesson: being thankful for things naturally sets you up nicely for happiness (which is why gratitude is so powerful for happiness), but you’ve still got to allow yourself to feel happy, by appreciating that it’s ok and great to feel happy no matter what, and to then allow yourself to feel that way.
For this reason, in order to be happy with what you have, take a shortcut to happiness by always allowing yourself to be happy with all the positive value you are thankful for in your life. By doing this you can become extremely happy very quickly.
How to feel gratitude no matter what
From this moment forward, stop thinking of gratitude as being some sort of an obligation, favor, or sacrifice that you do for other people. Instead, gratitude is something that you deliberately do for yourself, since it benefits you so much and naturally leads to a happier, more enjoyable life.
With this attitude, it’s easy to be thankful for things, no matter what your circumstances are.
For example, no matter what is happening in your life, you can be thankful that you are still alive, and that you have the capabilities to improve your thinking, life, and situation.
But let’s dig deeper, so that you avoid the trap of ever thinking you have “nothing” to be thankful for, and instead you find ways to constructively always feel thankful for your life, even when you’re thinking about things that you might not like.
Examples of how to express gratitude constructively
You can always find a way to be thankful in some way, no matter what aspect of your life you’re considering.
For example, let’s say you lost your job. You could be thankful that you had a good job for so long, and you could be grateful for all the good moments that you had at the job.
You could also be thankful for learning that you can accept and handle a job loss, and you could be thankful that you have the opportunity to look for other types of employment.
Finally, you could be thankful that your job loss might lead you to a better, different path that you’d never imagined or considered before.
The key idea, here, is that you constructively find ways to be thankful because it benefits you so much, not because it’s the “right” or noble thing to do.
After all, using this example, instead of feeling awful and depressed about a job loss, you are naturally in better spirits, more energized, and more empowered to find a new job due to constructively finding ways to be thankful.
What is a gratitude journal & how does it help you practice gratitude?
Once you appreciate how important, powerful, and beneficial gratitude is, it makes complete sense to make gratitude a daily habit that is part of your everyday life. After all, by doing so, you ensure that you will feel consistently happier every day.
For some people, gratitude is already naturally “baked” into their lives by being grateful and thankful for every meal they have. Even if you don’t believe in God or a higher power, you can still easily do this and be thankful for every meal you have.
But another way to naturally make gratitude part of your life is to learn how to keep a gratitude journal every day.
In case you don’t know what a gratitude journal is, it’s simply a written record of things that you are thankful for in your life. By developing the daily habit of writing in your gratitude journal, this naturally helps you practice gratitude on a daily basis.
How to start a gratitude journal & benefit from it
Learning how to make a gratitude journal is simple and easy to do, since it’s as simple as getting a notebook and pen, and every day writing down at least one thing that you are thankful for. As you’ll see, just a little gratitude every day goes a long way towards helping you feel better and happier.
The key, here, is consistency rather than quantity. So aim for writing down 1 to 3 things every day that you are thankful for. As you’ll see, it only takes a couple minutes to do this.
It’s especially helpful to find ways to be thankful for positive value associated with things that are bothering you, like you just learned how to do. For example, if you lost a job, you can write down how you are thankful for all your positive moments at the job, and you can write down how you are thankful that you have the capabilities to find another job.
By being thankful about these types of things in your gratitude journal, you naturally don’t feel bad as much, and you naturally don’t feel sorry for yourself, which only makes you more miserable and works against you. Instead, you naturally feel great for yourself, which is far more valuable and beneficial for you in every way.
Also, over time, your gratitude journal becomes more and more valuable, since it is like a very positive record of your life, and if you have any dark days where you don’t see much positive value in your life, it’s very easy to flip through the journal and see how many positive things you have to be thankful for.
So for all these reasons, keeping a daily gratitude journal is something that will help you become and remain happy and depression-free.
How to practice gratitude every day the easy way
The overall lesson is that practicing gratitude daily is a fast shortcut to greater happiness, as well as becoming and remaining depression-free.
While you can easily make gratitude an everyday part of your life by starting a gratitude journal, you can also use the Daily Happiness Tool, which helps you every day by asking you to list up to three things you are thankful for.
Over time, your entries become part of your Happiness Journal, which you can always look back on to see all the wonderful, positive things in your life that you have been thankful for.
Also, an advantage with the Happiness Tool is that every day you are reminded to allow yourself to be happy with all the positive value that you’ve seen in your life. As you’ve learned, this is a crucial step for actually feeling happiness, which means the Happiness Tool just makes it even easier for you to consistently feel happier.
Bottom line, though, it is up to you to consistently see positive value in your life that you are thankful for, if you want to become and remain depression-free, and live a happy life. So whatever method you choose to help make that happen is up to you.
The only important thing is that you actually do it and make it a part of your daily life since it benefits you so much.
So, moving forward, whatever method you choose, just be sure that you choose to make gratitude a daily part of your life, since it is one of the most important, powerful things you can do to become consistently happy and depression-free.
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Section 10 Lessons:
- How to be happy with yourself
- How to practice gratitude daily & be happier
- Challenge: see yourself as happy and depression-free