The People Pro® Blog

Looking For Happiness? Try Saying Thanks

By Barbara Bartlein

Researchers who study positive psychology have long known that people who practice gratitude tend to be happier. They are focused on what they have, not on what they want or what others have. Gratitude is an attitude that helps people buffer the affluenza of our consumer driven culture.

Afterall, billions of dollars are spent on advertising every year to convince you that you need more, need bigger, and need better. And we all DO have more. Since 1960, we have added electric garage openers, computers, cell phones, flat screen TVs, microwaves, dishwashers, and hundreds of other gadgets to make our lives "easier." We all have so much stuff now that we have to rent storage units to keep it all.

One in 11 American households, according to a recent survey, owns self-storage space--an increase of 75 percent from 1995 to present. The USA now has some 1.875 billion square feet of personal storage. Even during the recession, the storage business has grown at a dramatic rate for both personal and business use. Just how much stuff do we need?

Being content with what you have is sometimes viewed as a lack of ambition or drive. Afterall, doesn't everyone want a brand new Lexus in their driveway for X-Mas? Not me. I noticed long ago that the more I had, the more I became owned by posessions. More maintenence, more expense and more to worry about.

These days, I'm purging and downsizing. The simpler my life, the less I have to worry about.  I am getting rid of things, stuff and negative people in my life.

You can actively build your gratitude by taking a few moments each morning and listing all that you are grateful for. The happiest people actually write them down or make a mental note. Every night as you go to bed, review what wonderful things happened to you during the day. Those great thoughts will float around in your dreams.

Some other things to do this Holiday Season:

  • Look up one of your teachers and thank them
  • Take a dinner over to an elderly neighbor
  • Go Xmas caroling around the neighborhood
  • Buy someone a cup a coffee for no reason
  • Send a card with a personal note to someone who is special
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