Of late, when folk politely inquire as to the quality of my day, I respond with a cheerful ‘I woke up in America and that is a great start to any day’. Whenever Thanksgiving season rolls around, I reflect upon how a deep and abiding appreciation (and a relentless focus thereon) for the good in life has been a meaningful contribution to my success in life. Cultivating an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ is a critical step toward developing the Habit of Happiness.
Daily counting your blessings, resolutely choosing to ‘Walk on the Sunny Side of the Street’ is not a magic wand to dissolve away the challenges of life BUT there is not a situation out there that cannot be better resolved with a positive can-do approach than with a doom and gloom mood. To a significant extent, both positive and negative approaches are ‘self-fulling prophecies’. Think you can, think you can’t, you are right. Furthermore, life and people tend to accept your self-appraisal. Exude solution-oriented confidence and you will attract likeminded people to support your efforts. Broadcast defeat, despair, and discouragement… well, as the good book says: ‘Who shall answer an uncertain trumpet?’ (1 Corinthians 14:8)
Some blessings may be so small, some uplifting, pleasant moments may be brief that they can easily slip by unnoticed. ‘Hardwiring Happiness’ (The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence by Rick Hanson) advocates the practice of learning to savor such times, honor them, stretch them out as a way of entrenching good things deeper into our lives.
“Finding gratitude and appreciation is key to resilience…and counting your blessings can actually increase your blessings.” – Laura Lynne Jackson, author
“The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles.” – William Penn, 1644 – 1718, Quaker, 1st governor of Pennsylvania (i.e. Penn’s woods)
“Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many – not on your misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens 1812-1870, (A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, Oliver Twist. Left school at 12 to work when father in debtors’ prison)
PS: I realize that not every reader ‘woke up in America’ but we can all find something to appreciate in our lives. If you don’t think so, reflect upon things or people that you would sorely miss if they were to disappear.
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier