The author of If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat says that there are two kinds of people in this world – those who are happy, and those who have everything they want but aren’t happy. Instead of focusing on what we need to do to be happy, he proposes looking at gratitude instead as the key to happiness. As he says, It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude, it’s gratitude that brings us happiness.
Defining happiness and gratitude
Happiness is a feeling of pleasure and contentment that comes from the things you enjoy in life. To be happy is to feel good about your life and to have a positive outlook on it.
Gratitude can be defined as the quality or state of being grateful; thankful recognition of benefits received or kindness shown. To be grateful is to show appreciation for what you have in life and what you are given.
Happiness is not the same as gratitude, but gratitude often leads to happiness because being grateful makes us feel content with our lives.
The benefits of gratitude
When we’re grateful for what we have in the present moment, it frees up our mind to think about all the things that are going well. When we’re consumed by negativity and unhappiness, it blocks any thoughts of gratitude from entering our minds. Our past is a part of us and it shapes who we are today. But dwelling on the past will not change anything or make you feel better. By focusing on the present and being grateful for what you have right now, you allow yourself to be happy with what you do have instead of constantly striving for something more
How to cultivate gratitude
We’re so busy that we don’t have time to appreciate what we do have. Think about it – how often do you say thank you without even realizing? If this sounds like you, it may be time to cultivate gratitude. Here are six ways to start:
1) Notice the small things. When your coffee is ready in the morning or when you get a promotion at work. 2) Make a list of everything that went well today and why it went well. 3) Write a thank-you letter to someone who made an impact on your life – a teacher, mentor or parent. 4) Share something positive with friends and family on social media.
The benefits of a grateful outlook
Gratitude doesn’t just bring happiness. Grateful people are more resilient and optimistic. They have better physical health, higher levels of satisfaction in relationships, and they even live longer than those who are ungrateful. What’s not to be grateful for?