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Happiness = f(In)Gratitude

Why our happiness is a function of how grateful we feel and all it take is a mental switch

Last night I kept my fiancee up to listening to my struggle with deciding whether I should get away for a few days to place far from home or not. The reasons why I want to get away are legitimate; having worked for a several months straight without traveling anywhere particularly different from D.C. or Florida (my two homes) and having worked hard and consecutively for a lot of the summer .

While my reasons are as legitimate as anyone elses’ for being tired, worn out, and wanting to change their routine, the push back I received from my partner about why I wanted to go away to begin with helped me grapple with the underlying reason why I want to “get away.” Part of this mentality of getting away subconsciously comes from all of the pressures I perceive around me to travel, often, constantly, and expensively, to different far off destinations. I sense these pressures from my peers, social media consumption as well as emails and ads that flood my work spaces. 

I realized, in that moment, that me “getting away” was not because I could not rest or enjoy being at home, but rather of an inability, a mental block preventing from seeing what I have all around me, right in front of me. My beautiful studio apartment in the DC, with big windows, wooden floors, and light shining in; my lovely bookshelf full of half read and unread books; my kindle and computer, which are sources and entry points into the world; and a whole list of people I have yet to keep touch with. My focus-no, obsession-with “getting away” and planning a trip had more to do with the pressure I felt to do so because I was off from work and less to do with appreciating what I have first. In other words, it came from a place of ungratefulness and not seeing what I did have at my disposal that I had barely scratched past the surface. 

Besides being questioned about what I am truly grateful for by my lovely fiance, another component of the solution to stay constantly in tune with my gratefulness is meditation. I recently decided that as a part of wanting to feel more grateful throughout the year and to maintain strong mental health, I would invest in getting a year long subscription to Simple Habit, a meditation service. 

Simple Habit has meditations that are scenario based, such as being on the go, or about to sleep, as well as virtue-based, such as wanting to develop gratitude. 

Therefore, I have started the gratitude meditations, which focus on gratitude of the body as well as the mind, and so far it has helped remind me each day of the abundance of what I do have, and that looking outside means I am missing what’s right in front me. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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