Happiness is…

Happiness is…

According to the wonderful science of positive psychology happiness is many things but primary, among the key drivers of happiness, is gratitude.

And according to my friend Lionel Ketchian, gratitude is attitude – I hope you enjoy Lionel’s (as always) simple but profound words…

Thanksgiving is over and many people got together with family and friends to share a great meal, and hopefully, share some good times. The meaning of Thanksgiving is giving thanks for what we have. We are talking about gratitude. Gratitude is an attitude of happiness. It is one of the first things we need to experience in order to feel happy. Gratitude is the precursor to happiness. It is not possible to be grateful and be unhappy at the same time. If you want to be happy…be grateful.

How do you do it? You can do it by finding something to be grateful for, it could be anything. It could be a loved one or something about your health. The fact that you can see, or anything else that comes to mind. Think about how fortunate you are to have all this in your life. You automatically start to feel better than you did before. This positive change of attitude is the result of your gratitude.

It seems to be true that unless we are grateful for what we have got, we really can’t enjoy it. By being grateful we are truly able to enjoy the special things and even those common things we take for granted. Unless we appreciate something we do not really have it, or make the best use of it. Being thankful puts us in a better relationship with life.

Gratitude is your calculator, and you become your own accountant. When you count on gratitude your happiness lies in the balance. It allows you to take stock of what you do have. You can see how things have moved out of your minus column into your plus column. You feel wealthier when you can account for what you have, instead of always thinking about what you don’t have. Being grateful ads value in your life because you are taking inventory of what you do have. Unless you are aware of what you have; it has no value.

Being grateful for what you do have is what most people think of doing. You can also be grateful for the many negative things you do not have. It could be poverty, illness and so many other things that you are fortunate not to have.

When I do not have something that I would like in my life, I respond with gratitude and act as though I already have it. Gratitude acts like a magnet in attracting those things to me. Gratitude helps you realize it. It’s not always my job to make things happen; I can get out of my own way and just let it happen. I a preference for what I want and I ask for it with positive expectancy and act with faith that I have it. This works well for me. If it does not happen, I don’t get upset, I change something or practice being patience. If it still does not happen, it may not be meant for me right now, or I may realize I may be better off without it.

Be selfish, do something for yourself by doing something good for someone else. If you are looking for happiness, this may be a good place to start. If you bring happiness to others, you can also find it. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said “You cannot pour happiness on others without getting a few drops on yourself.” If you are happy to begin with that’s great, now you can share it with others and it will intensify within you.

Gratitude will enable you to experience the best things in your life. It has been said that giving is receiving. If you crave love, give love. You will become loving, and you will have love in your life. I trust you will elevate yourself to a higher altitude, and profit from an attitude of gratitude. I wish you and your family Happy Holidays.

BE HAPPY ZONE by Lionel Ketchian. Published in the Fairfield Citizen-News on November 19, 2008.