As the great quote says, “It is not happiness that brings us gratitude, it is gratitude that brings us happiness.” With that in mind, the title above isn’t as silly as it might seem at first. Also, gratitude seems to be good for our health. (On Pubmed.gov I searched the database for “gratitude and health”. I got back 1261 results!
This blog will be a bit short, but not because the list of what I’m grateful for is short. That list is much longer than my review here, but I’m being brief because it is the day before Thanksgiving, and we are all busy. Not surprisingly, I’m grateful for my faith and for a wonderful husband (Bill), a terrific kid (Andy), terrific stepchildren (Laura, Lisa and William) and grandchildren (Kayla and Tanner). I’m also very thankful that when we can all get together, we have a wonderful time. (The group even includes Bill’s first wife!) There is none of that family tension so often joked about around the holidays. I appreciate my health and that I have learned how to improve it. I am very thankful to have a purpose to pursue each day that (at least according to kind listeners) is worthwhile and makes a difference. I’m very grateful for Healthy by Nature’s listener following, sponsors and its expert guests.
Of course, my list includes a lot of material goodies, like a computer that works most of the time, a comfortable house, a warm bed and indoor plumbing. Which reminds me, why not be grateful for a healthy poop? Being thankful makes me want to give what I can to those less fortunate. One of my favorite charities is worldvision.org. It is extremely well rated and offers lots of creative options for giving the needy a hand up domestically or internationally.
I am thankful that so many of my “problems” are decidedly the “First world” type…such struggles as having 2 appliance clocks that didn’t automatically reset to daylight saving time change or being frustrated that there are too many viewing options on Netflix. (On cable, among hundreds, there is a channel that plays vintage game shows 24 hours a day. What a country!) Sometimes being grateful is a matter of perspective. For example, I’m very thankful for my 18-year-old car. (I’m not trying to impress anyone, it runs well, and it has seat heaters!)
A deliberate change in perspective can even turn annoyances into reasons to be grateful. It is like the quote from Abraham Lincoln, “We can complain that rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” As a personal example, if my errands are slowed down by road construction, I remind myself that I’m lucky to live in an area that has paved roads and that my city works to fix them.
In short, “Happiness is not having what you want, it is appreciating what you have.”