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Gratitude Is the Key to Joy

Gratitude Is the Key to Joy
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Autumn is a time of harvest, and thus many people reserve this time of year for giving thanks for what they have received. All over the world, various festivals and holidays exist where communities come together and express gratitude. This time is beautiful, but we can also think of such celebrations as a reminder to make gratitude part of our everyday lives.

The idea of always being grateful may seem simple and obvious in and of itself. What may be less obvious, however, or at least easier to forget, is that gratitude is necessary for happiness. Many of us are constantly looking for what will make us happy, so we eat delicious food, seek out exciting entertainment, and make plans for our ideal future. These things will indeed provide moments of joy, but they usually don’t provide lasting satisfaction. That is because real happiness cannot be found in achievements, experiences, and material gain. Instead, happiness is a mindset, and way of understanding our lives and the world. But, like any habit or skill, it must be cultivated through practice, and that practice is called “gratitude.”

Giving Thanks Every Day


Just like making a deliberate choice to start exercising is one of the first steps to getting in shape, feeling gratitude is one of the first steps to awakening your heart. You can begin by noticing the obvious advantages in your life. What blessings do you have? If you have a comfortable place to live and regular meals every day, you already have much to be grateful for.

Then, you can expand your thanks to the things that make you and your life special—your special talents and unique personality, for example, and all the people who have come in and out of your life. Even if you feel lonely in life, remember all the people that are connected to you or have supported you in some way such as the people who grew and prepared your food, the people who taught you and nurtured you as a child, the people who pave the roads and build the buildings that make our lives comfortable. And, most importantly, you can give thanks for your life and your soul.

Positivity Fosters Gratitude


If you’re having a hard time feeling gratitude, you can examine what’s holding you back. Usually, people can’t feel gratitude because of negative information. Their minds are consumed with what is inadequate about the world or their lives, so they miss all the beauty that surrounds them. This is not to say problems should be ignored, but a negative, ungrateful attitude never helps. No matter how difficult the situation, there is always a proverbial “silver lining.”

Instead of becoming mired in complaints, resentment, or disappointment, you can find that silver lining by asking yourself, “What am I meant to learn from this problem? How will it help me grow?” In this way, boring jobs can become like meditations, and multitasking becomes an energy dance. And, difficult problems become like obstacles that make us stronger. In this sense, the difficulties of life are like fertilizer for our souls, helping us to find the best version of ourselves.

If you practice gratitude regularly, it will eventually become the default state of your brain. This is not only good for your mental state; it is also good for your physical and energetic health, too. In terms of energy, illness begins when stagnant energy builds up in the body. Gratitude, on the other hand, opens the heart and helps to clear stagnant energy from the system, turning you into a bright, pure light in the world.

Written by Ilchi Lee
A visionary, educator, author, and founder of ChangeYourEnergy.com, Ilchi Lee has spent nearly three decades helping people create better lives for themselves. Lee has created Body & Brain Yoga, Brain Education, and hundreds of other wellness programs and methods. A model for the self-improvement he teaches, Ilchi Lee is continually changing and continually creative. Keep up with Ilchi Lee on his blog at http://www.ilchi.com.
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