Gratitude – The Key to Happiness

I’ve had a lot of adventures in my life, fellas, and been a lot of awesome places. I’ve been lucky enough to travel in over 20 countries and make friends all over the world by 30 years of age, and one thing I’ve learned during that same time frame is that happiness is a state of mind.

What made me realize this was experience. I realized, reflecting back, that I’d felt like absolute shit on a paradise island in Thailand, had felt elation and happiness on the same island a few days later, had felt rage and frustration in crowded cities, and had also felt relaxed and at ease in the same cities, at different times.

That’s enough evidence for me to conclude that human emotions and moods are largely a state of mind. After all, if it was all down to environment, I wouldn’t have felt two totally different moods and emotions in the same place, would I?

This is actually awesome news, because what it makes us realize is that our happiness, which is also an emotion or state of mind, isn’t fully determined by our environment. We can actually experience happiness in the worst of places, and sadness in the best of places, and it all comes down to our thoughts, which create our moods and feelings, at the time.

Since we can control how we choose to think about a situation, and can choose to be either happy and grateful or negative and resentful about wherever and whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, that means we can also control our happiness.

I have found that without a doubt, time and time again, the key to instant happiness is a quick dash of gratitude. It is one of the most satisfying emotions a human being can experience, and will instantly lift your spirits and change your picture of the world.

To celebrate this immense power we have within us, I’ve decided to list the things I’m thankful for. I’ve recently returned home to my native Ireland to spend some time and have had a lot to think about and appreciate.

This is my list, try to create your own to instantly feel happiness in almost any situation.

G Freedom’s Gratitude List

I’m thankful for family. No matter where I go, what I do, how long I’m gone for and how many challenges I face, my family is there for me and we pick up just where we left off. The love in my family is unconditional, and I am eternally grateful for it.

I’m thankful for health. It’s easy to take health for granted, but having met some people who’ve suffered from disease and death young and who have struggled with ailments all of their lives, I’m thankful for the clean bill of health I was blessed with when I came into this world and have enjoyed up until now. It’s a duty to make the best of that and to celebrate it by being as fit and healthy as I can. I intend to live a life that respects this gift I have been given and never forget how a simple roll of the dice could have seen me wearing the shoe on the other foot.

I’m thankful for growing up in the West. Having recently gone through an insane visa process to get my wife to my home country for a visit, I’m eternally thankful I grew up here where we can just hop on a plane to virtually anywhere. We are truly free, and the residents of some other nations face intense discrimination and endless hurdles before they can travel. I’m thankful I grew up here and can see the world.

I’m thankful for friends that have lasted decades and even a lifetime. I only have 3-4 true buddies who will always be there for me no matter what, but I fully recognize that’s 3-4 more than some people have. I’m thankful for my brothers from other mothers and the older I get, the more I appreciate them. Lot’s of people lose touch with their friends as life gets busier and they get older, but somehow I’ve managed to maintain the connections. I’m eternally grateful to have family who aren’t blood.

I’m thankful for my ancestors who built the country I now enjoy. I used to hate where I grew up and couldn’t get away from it fast enough, but after seeing the dumps some people live in around the world, where they don’t even have basic access to public services and freedoms, I’m thankful to every soldier and forefather who shed sweat, blood and tears to build a better country for their children and grandchildren. I’ve inherited something insanely special, and I want my son to know it and enjoy it, too.

I’m thankful for my wife and son. I hear guys complain all the time about how the wife nags them and their kids ruined their lives, and the only response I have is to want to slap them silly. Maybe it’s because I spent so much time away from my own family, but I’m eternally grateful to have been blessed with a family of my own. I’d lay my life down for my wife and son in an instant, and every day I wake up and see them I send a prayer of thanks up to a God I’m not even sure exists, bu whom I feel compelled to thank just in case.

I’m thankful for struggle. Yes, you read that right. I’ve come into some serious struggles in my life and I am thankful for them as much as the good stuff. If it wasn’t for the pain, the tests and the sacrifice, I wouldn’t appreciate all of the abundance and good things I know I enjoy now. It took me a long time to realize this, but a life without struggle or sacrifice wouldn’t be worth living – there’d be nothing to contrast it to and we’d have no sense of appreciation.

Lastly, I’m thankful for life itself. I don’t know if life has any purpose, rhyme , reason or explanation, or if we’re all just apes dancing for a while on a big spinning rock around a colossal fireball, but I do know life is a heck of an adventure and I love being here. Life may be shitty sometimes, no doubt, but it’s always worth it. We live on an amazing planet, full of interesting, cool,wonderful people, and with endless new experiences to have and enjoy. I’m thankful my daddy had that glint in his eye that night, and I got to come here to this marvelous place and run amock for a little while!

So there you have it. That’s what I’m thankful for. It isn’t all striving and suffering for goals in some distant future when we’ll finally be complete and happy. It’s good to have those, but it’s also good to hit pause sometimes, to kick back, reflect and appreciate life and all that’s good in it.

Desire. Decide. Persist.

And today – be grateful!

So what are you thankful for? What has life given you that stops you in your tracks and makes you feel gratitude?

Until next time,

G

2 Comments

  1. Absolutely true about “happiness” and emotions Mr. Freedom.

    “I’d lay my life down for my wife and son in an instant, and every day I wake up and see them I send a prayer of thanks up to a God I’m not even sure exists, bu whom I feel compelled to thank just in case.”

    Well, I’m pretty sure there is a GOD and what you’ve said is actually the correct thing to say that an honest Christian (man) should believe and say.

    May you and your family be blessed exceedingly with HAPPINESS in the SPIRIT of God Almighty, LORD JESUS CHRIST! Amen!

    ~ Sincerely,

    Bro. Jed

  2. Absolutely true about “happiness” and emotions Mr. Freedom.

    “I’d lay my life down for my wife and son in an instant, and every day I wake up and see them I send a prayer of thanks up to a God I’m not even sure exists, bu whom I feel compelled to thank just in case.”

    Well, I’m pretty sure there is a GOD and what you’ve said is actually the correct thing to say that an honest Christian (man) should believe and say.

    May you and your family be blessed exceedingly with HAPPINESS in the SPIRIT of God Almighty, LORD JESUS CHRIST! Amen!

    ~ Sincerely,

    Bro. Jed

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