It can be surprisingly difficult to determine where to ‘aim’ your gratitude. Contemporary western culture gives the impression that we are all ‘entitled’ to the good things of life. At the same time, the ‘good things’ are implicitly and explicitly defined as material wealth, and happiness is equated with more stuff. Now, delayed gratification is no longer widely encouraged or valued.
The combined effect of these cultural pressures is to make us feel resentful and frustrated rather than grateful. If we don’t get what we want (which of course we are ‘entitled’ to), we feel cheated and hard done by. What’s to be grateful for? We lose sight of the significance of the small pleasures of life, and especially those which are not directly tangible, or which don’t have a ‘market price’.
‘Know what you’ve got to be thankful for? The real gratitude attitude’, at Uncommon Knowledge, Hypnosis Downloads
This is an extract from the blurb for one of Uncommon Knowledge’s self-hypnosis downloads, introducing the “gratitude attitude” and explaining how it correlates with happiness and life satisfaction. For those who lack it, they prescribe fostering a habit of reflexive gratitude, and cite a long term study showing that participants who were actively ‘grateful’ everyday enjoyed better mental and physical health, made more progress in their personal goals, and reported a ‘higher sense of well-being’.
This rings true. Morbid prognostications re the collapse of industrial civilization and the relentless human onslaught on the living world aside, at a day-to-day level I’m in the glass-half-full camp. Enjoying the occasional company of two thoroughly silly small people, who live deep in the moment, surely helps. Reasons to be cheerful, parts 1, 2 and 3!