Gratitude: A Key to a Happy Life

by Rachel

Before you start reading this, promise me that sometime today you’ll find the time to go outside, stand there, look up at the sky, and contemplate how great life is. Okay, continue reading. (:

Whether it’s the beautiful San Diego beach my family visits for Christmas or up in the gorgeous mountains of Northern Salt Lake, my absolute favorite place to be is the outdoors. 

San Diego

Question: Why is your favorite place outside where there’s bugs, it’s cold, and you probably can’t get very good internet service?

Answer: Because there is something about the sound of the ocean, or a sunrise hike that makes me forget my worldly problems. I’m reminded how blessed I am to live in a beautiful world that God created. 

Friends

Conclusion: I am most happy when I find things to be grateful for.

Take a minute and ponder the past week.

Question: Have you complained about having to do something you didn’t really want to? Have you wanted something new that you don’t need?

Answer: Rachel = Guilty

I often find myself becoming “too busy” to unload the dish washer for my mom or I have “too much homework” to take my little sister on a 20 minute bike ride. The second I get my check from work I look for the newest, cutest piece of clothing I can buy. I find myself getting so caught up in the world that I’m missing the moments that really count.

Question: How can we feel more happiness, peace, and contentment in our lives?

Answer: Gratitude – and expressing appreciation to God and others.

In the For the Strength of Youth it says, “The Lord wants you to have a spirit of gratitude in all you do and say. Live with a spirit of thanksgiving and you will have greater happiness and satisfaction in life. Even in your most difficult times, you can find much to be grateful for. Doing so will strengthen and bless you.”

One way to put problems into perspective is to count your blessings. Have you ever been thankful for your shoelaces? It seems so insignificant, right? But your shoes would not stay on without shoelaces, and without shoes your feet would get pretty beat up.

I can’t tell you how many times my mom saves the day. Whether she gets me up to make sure I’m on time for school, or bringing me my homework I left at home, or straightening up my room because she knows I’m having a stressful day, or preparing dinner every day. I’m sure we can all come up with a countless number of things our family/friends/neighbors do for us on a daily basis.

When we recognize what someone else has done for us, it makes them want to do it again. It also personally makes you happier because you realize how much someone cares.

“Turn your expectation to appreciation and the world instantly changes.” – Tony Robbins

There’s so many things that often go unnoticed. Don’t enjoy your job? According to CNN, as of January 2014, 3.6 million Americans were unemployed and 44 million live below the poverty line.

If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are blessed because a million people in the world will not survive this week.

If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If you can read this blog post you are more fortunate than the 3 billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Wow. Crazy right? I don’t know about you but just finding those statistics makes me realize how much I take for granted.

Sometimes during our trials it may be difficult to find things to be thankful for, but like Abraham Lincoln said, “We can complain that rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

A friend from church told me about an experience she had. She knelt in prayer and thanked the Lord for all the blessings in her life – big and small.  She didn’t ask for anything, she just gave thanks. I tried it. It was hard at first. I had to resist the urge to start asking for things, but it was a wonderful way to let Heavenly Father know that I am thankful and that I appreciate His hand in my life. Give it a try. You will recognize how much God blesses you.

This next week, focus on being grateful. At the end of the week ask yourself: “Was I happier?”

Gratitude turns what we have into enough. Make “thank you” your catch phrase. I promise you that if you find things to be grateful for daily, you will find happiness through every step of life.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. It means a lot to all of us kids who write as we try to share the “Small and Simple Truths” that matter most to us. 

 

This article has 2 comments

  1. Doris Reply

    Sometimes we need some one to remind us of the blessings we do have. I too love the outside and the blessings of nature. It all comes from our Father in Heaven who loves us very much. Thank you for reminding me!!.

  2. Kevin Sanders Reply

    Fantastic post Rachel! The natural beauty of the earth is truly a gift from God. It is never ending evidence of His love for us. It reminds us that he wants us to be happy and enjoy our life.

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