Finding Happiness in Gratitude

By Denise Schnitzer

Being light and being a light are admirable qualities. Finding happiness in everything and everywhere is a gift. Gratitude follows happiness.

The writer William Arthur Ward once wrote, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

When you maintain a positive and optimistic outlook, all events in life can harvest happiness and generate gratitude. Look around: there is life everywhere. The trees may be dormant in Winter, but will awake in Spring to reveal green leaves. The flowers are hiding now, but soon will bloom with colour, fragrance and life. Change is good because it renews, rejuvenates and invites possibility. Change in venue, outlook and perspective is where FUN resides.

I recently changed my personal venue: I repatriated to the USA to begin a new adventure. There are many “new” things here for me. This is a new city for me, so are the places, roads, stores and people all new. I see ducks flying overhead daily and lightening in the sky some nights. I welcome everything as an opportunity to learn and grow. I’m lighter because I’ve purged so much of my material possessions and made my living footprint smaller. Possessions that didn’t spark joy in me any longer were shared with friends and given to charity.

Recognizing commitment verses attachment is freeing. Keeping photos (digitally, please) and some treasures are important. Holding on to stuff because they belonged to a long-lost family member is expensive both financially (moving costs from place to place) and emotionally. I am more mobile because I can travel and move with less to tote along. I am focusing on the happy, positive and joyful aspects of this new place. Gratitude fills my heart when I see where I am and how much is ahead of me.

Another experience for me is driving around to explore. In the UAE, I relied on public transportation. Now I have a Jeep and Waze (mobile app) to get me around. Each time I buckle up, I am reminded that the journey is in front, to the left, the right and straight ahead of me. Long drives off the highway to see the land are ways I explore my new city. I am experiencing life through road trips and new eyes. There is always somewhere you can go that is new and different….I challenge you to explore.

Change your perspective and see your life anew. Be compassionate with yourself and you’ll feel your happiness levels arise.

Love deeply – live fully – laugh boldly are three keys to happiness. The good hormones (serotonin and dopamine) are released in the brain and pain, stress and sadness melt away. Sure, it’s not a panacea, but self-love and care can make a world of difference for a healthy, happy you.

Happiness must be a daily choice: you live only once, so make every day count, embrace it, love it. Shift your mood: get some sunshine, take stress for a trek, eat your favorite foods, have a long phone conversation with a friend.

Philosopher James Allen said, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

Remember, as the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said, “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

Rock your greatness while you’re here and make it the best life ever! Be happy and have FUN every day!

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