By Patricia Barone
What helps us to feel happier and peaceful? In the short run, it may seem like getting what we want, what we think we need, will bring us greater happiness and inner peace. Actually, it may be just the opposite. Research supports the premise that gratitude for what we already have helps us to feel greater inner peace and happiness. The science of gratitude suggests that happiness is not a destination, it is not a possession, nor can you wear it or consume it. Gratitude for the present moment, expressing thanks for what is, opens up the path to greater contentment and inner peace. A recent New York Times article suggests that, whether we feel gratitude or not, we can intentionally choose to practice gratitude and that doing so will raise our happiness level. So here is a suggestion. Experiment with finding three things you feel or you can imagine feeling gratitude for. Practice finding gratitude daily if possible. Do this for two weeks. Notice if something shifts for you. Sources of gratitude will vary vastly for each of us, from day to day and person to person. For example, it might be a cashier’s smile or a snowstorm that keeps you home from work or a child’s hug. It can be as subtle as the feel of velvet in your hands or fleece on your skin on a cold day.
So take a few minutes, or longer if you are enjoying yourself, and reflect on what you are thankful for taking time to savor the transformative power of gratitude.
“There is no greater happiness than peace.”