Do you think you’ll be happier later in life than you are right now?
Too many of us continually look down the road for happiness. We think, “Once I achieve that goal, reach that certain title at work, find that person I want to spend my life with, hit that particular mark in financial success … then I’ll be happy.”
Is it really possible, or even practical, to think we can postpone our happiness — or even the happiness of our family and others? We can’t control the future that way.
The wiser path is to recognize, understand and amplify all the good we have in our life right now. That’s because the road to an abundant life passes through gratitude. When you’re grateful for what you have, you aren’t focused on what you don’t have, which builds an attitude of dissatisfaction and entitlement.
I believe that experiencing happiness today is much more attainable if we apply discipline in our thinking. In a three-step process I call “amplifying gratitude,” we can recognize what’s good in our lives, then turn up the volume on those good aspects to make appreciation, not entitlement, a constant in our lives.
· First, at this very minute, identify three things for which you are grateful. Be specific. They might be things as simple as your family, your job, your health, or even the wonders of technology.
· Second, expand your thinking about the three things you just wrote. Go a level deeper and identify what you’re grateful for about each of them. If you noted gratitude for your family, for example, maybe the level deeper is the love and support you feel from them when you come home from a hard day at work. If you noted your job, it could be your gratitude for being able to support and take care of your family.
· In the third step, broaden your thinking even further. Fine tune and analyze more clearly the things you identified in the first step, and amplified in the second. For example, feeling gratitude for your family and then amplifying those feelings might lead you to better understand exactly why you feel that love from and for your family, and how you share it with each other. The ‘job’ example might clarify the reason why you feel that way about your work. Maybe it’s due to the gratitude for the professional development you received that is leading you to a stronger sense of self-worth and self-reliance. Now ponder and internalize the gratitude you feel for each of the three things you have identified.
Does this seem too simple to have an impact on how you view your life? Actually, it’s supposed to be simple — and effective. We often forget to recognize and embrace the abundance that surrounds us every day, in every aspect of our lives. This leads us to a life of scarcity, always waiting to be happy in the future.
Instead, schedule 10 or 15 minutes on a regular basis to amplify your gratitude, just three things at a time.
A little gratitude goes a long way towards being happy today.
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Originally published at medium.com