Those of you who follow me on social media have seen my daily posts in 2021, giving thanks for anything from avocados to garbage collectors to clean bed sheets. This project was borne from an idea I had for a long time, to spend a full year of giving thanks.
I’m a great believer in gratitude as a path to both happiness and enlightenment. When you look at the World Happiness Report, you’ll find that the richest countries (USA, Singapore, Qatar) don’t top the lists. Instead, smaller countries with a healthy social structure rank the highest: Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, etc. The outliers are Switzerland and Norway, which rank high on both lists.
The conclusion we can draw is that money doesn’t bring happiness. What makes a difference is satisfaction with what you already have.
People in Sweden, where I grew up, all have a nice house or apartment, a summer house, and they go on vacation somewhere nice every year. Their salaries are much lower than in New York, their taxes much higher, and real estate prices about the same. But with social health care, they can choose a job they like. They can work 8-5, and no one would ever call them for work issues during weekends. They have a great life. And at the core, it’s because they are satisfied with what they have. Their houses are not eight-bedroom villas, however much they earn. Their summer houses are not in the equivalent of The Hamptons, it could be a one bed-room house in the woods. Their vacations are not at five-star all-inclusive resorts, but perhaps in a quaint guesthouse in a Spanish fishing village. I’m generalizing, but you get the idea.
The key to happiness is really to yearn for less.
Whatever our circumstances, we can all find more happiness in our lives. Look around you, right where you are at this moment. Do you have electricity, heating, a full stomach, clean clothes, shoes without holes in them? We tend to take everything for granted, rushing through our lives. We forget that we have much more than most others in the world.
Try to spend some time every day feeling gratitude for the people in your life, your job, your home, your friends, the food on your table…
Find at least one new thing every day for which to feel grateful.
Give thanks in the morning when you wake up, and at night before going to sleep. And you’ll see that your life will become better, happier, and soon enough miracles will start happening.
I’m going to compile my 365 Days of Happiness into a Gratitude Journal. I ‘ll let you know when it’s published.
And I would love to hear from you…