How to Be Happy: Practice Gratitude

The holidays create a great season to bring more happiness into your life. The best way? Reflect on all the things in your life that help you, move you forward, make you smile, and give you satisfaction.

Feelings of gratitude lead to love, generosity, compassion, joy, energy, service. The engine of gratitude is mindfulness. Its fuel is activity.

So How Do You “Practice” Gratitude?

  • Start with a list of positive things in your life—things you’re thankful for. People who love you. Your God-given skills, talents, wisdom. Experiences and adventures you’ve enjoyed. Your health. Catastrophes, misfortunes, and mishaps you’ve avoided.
  • Consider small gifts (food, flowers, teas, coffees, gift cards, books) you can give to express your appreciation to those who’ve helped or encouraged you along the way.
  • Write cards and notes to express your gratitude and encourage others.
  • Show generosity with your time and money to those less fortunate who need a helping hand.
  • Be kind to those who show kindness the least and need it the most.
  • Serve those who depend on the generosity of strangers and cannot return your help. Find a cause or charity that needs your volunteer efforts and be as committed to that work as if you were getting paid.
  • Pray and thank God for your blessings.

John F. Kennedy once observed: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

To echo Kennedy’s conclusion, I’ll start you off on the road to reflection with these favorite quotes on gratitude:

Quotes on Gratitude

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. — Melody Beattie

None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy. — Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has."––Epictetus

Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts. — Henri Frederic Amiel

Feeling gratitude isn’t born in us––it’s something we are taught, and in turn, we teach our children. — Joyce Brothers

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for. — Zig Ziglar

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. — St. Paul, Philippians 4:11

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. — Robert Brault

When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around. — Willie Nelson

So how will you practice gratitude during this season?

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