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Gratitude: It’s Not About Being Happy, It&#...

Gratitude: It’s Not About Being Happy, It’s What Makes You Happy

Photo on 8-19-13 at 11.09 AMIt’s November and our theme for the month is, of course, Thankfulness & Gratitude.  As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, think about the things you’re thankful for.  And then reevaluate it.

Gratitude is easy – when life is good.  Someone hands you a slice of your favorite pie and you’re grateful.  Your family is all behaving at your holiday gathering and you’re grateful.  You have a nice home and it reflects your happy years together and you’re grateful.  You take turns at the Thanksgiving dinner table saying what we’re thankful for.  Food, Family, Finances.

In July of this year, Lee and I challenged ourselves to make some changes in our behavior patterns.  We worked off an article that explored the 22 Habits of Unhappy People.  We looked long and hard at ourselves and had to fess up to some negative behavior patterns.   Then we set about changing them in our month long Behavior Exchange Challenge.  I am still working successfully at dropping those negative behaviors and adopting new behaviors that will lead me to a happier life.

It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude.  It’s gratitude that brings us happiness.

There’s a big difference in being grateful and practicing gratitude.   I’m grateful for many things, food, family, finance, but unless I practice saying it out loud I won’t BELIEVE it…I won’t ACT IT…I won’t FEEL it.  Along with all those negative behavioral habits I was breaking, I now need to include an active practice of gratitude.  It’s much more than the thank you associated with a serving of pumpkin pie.

My son & daughter in law have a ritual they do with their 4 kids every night at the dinner table.  They call it their “top 3”.  Each person at the table has to list the three best things about that day. What a great reminder of all the good things in life.  It’s easy when life is good, but it’s a challenge when life seems to get in your way.

IMG_0047I’ve spent plenty of time hashing over my past and thinking about it in a new way.  As Wayne Dyer puts it:

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”

In addition to my own daily “top 3” I need to look at the journey behind me and make amends with the good, bad & the ugly of my past.  The focus for the rest of the month for me is not just Thankfulness & Gratitude, but finding the gratitude in not just the highlights, but finding the gratitude in the low lights.  It’s not as easy as pie, but I’ll feel better after I do it.

Care to Join Me?

Here’s a great example of finding gratitude in your past.  The commencement speech by Steve Jobs at Stanford University.  Well worth your time!

Then check out this very short video on The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude.  It really delivers evidence of the link between gratitude and happiness.  It’ll leave you with a need to call someone and tell them how thankful you are to have them in your life.

As I focus on the practice of gratitude this month –  gratitude for the good, the bad & the ugly part of life, I hope you’ll join me.  I’d love to hear your change of perspective.


  1. For a WONDERFUL bite-size piece of gratitude to watch everyday, go see this 5 minute video: http://www.gratefulness.org/brotherdavid/a-good-day.htm It makes my day, everyday!
    Laura Lee Carter aka the Midlife Crisis Queen recently posted…Gift ideas for Boomers: It’s the Midlife Madness sale!My Profile

  2. Jenn

    5 November

    Great post! Its very important to remember and stop and think about the good things in our life. Unfortunately, it usually take a holiday like Thanksgiving to remind us!

  3. Sarah Bailey

    5 November

    Great post thank you so much – you have really got me thinking – am I grateful enough? x
    Sarah Bailey recently posted…Hot Buttons: Make Room for Debate on Your BlogMy Profile

  4. Rita Von

    5 November

    I spent much of my life in not so positive places. I had it tough and when I look back on the way things were I laugh. I laugh because I’m standing where I’m standing despite those things. I’m grateful for strength for sure.
    Rita Von recently posted…Voting day – What I’m Wearing.My Profile

  5. Jayne Townsley

    5 November

    “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”

    Truer than most people realize.
    Jayne Townsley recently posted…The Live Shows Premiere on The Voice Recap Season 5 Episode 13My Profile

  6. Lexie Lane

    5 November

    So thought provoking! Tiny little things can make me happy and I don’t like to dwell on the past. My husband, who refuses to know my past, taught me that. You just feel better and can move forward if you don’t have to look back at anything that’s gone wrong in the past.

  7. Jenn

    5 November

    Excellent post! Makes you think. I know most days I feel I am not grateful for the wonderful family I have, I need to make more of an effort to remember that.
    Jenn recently posted…Hapimomi App Gets Your Family OrganizedMy Profile

  8. Amberlee Cave

    5 November

    Thanks for sharing this! I love the dinner table idea, I may have to steal that for my family 🙂
    Amberlee Cave recently posted…Almay CC Cream ReviewMy Profile

  9. That is so true and something very few people understand. Great post.
    Jennifer Williams recently posted…Staying Healthy with SYNCMy Profile

  10. Yvonne Wray

    5 November

    Thank you for a good post. Congratulations on adopting new behaviors and having happiness be important. I believe that gratitude can change your view of the world instantly.
    Having the goal of experiencing menopause pleasurably takes my deliberate attention on finding things that are good on a daily basis.

    It can be challenging on some days when it seems so easy to slide down into dull heavy moods, but switching my attention on to another person and acknowledging the good takes me up every time I do it.

  11. Elizabeth

    5 November

    Have you heard of Happify? It’s a company that sets activities for you to complete that are scientifically based that boost different emotional skill sets related to improving your overall happiness level. It’s a neat program.
    Elizabeth recently posted…Healthy New You Giveaway – Week 1My Profile

  12. You’re so right…it’s easy to be grateful when life is good. The true test is finding gratitude when life isn’t exactly dealing us great cards. I love your post.
    Kathy @ CountingToTen recently posted…The EASIEST Pumpkin Spice Coffee Recipe EVER! #loveyourcupMy Profile

  13. Melinda Dunne

    5 November

    Being grateful is really key to a happy life. It isn’t always easy when life is full of negativity but it is really important to focus on the positive.
    Melinda Dunne recently posted…KitchenAid Mixer Blogger OppMy Profile

  14. So true that gratitude brings happiness, I always try to focus on the good things and to be thankful for what I have.

  15. Maria

    5 November

    I love the Steve jobs video! Great message!!

  16. Loreina

    5 November

    Being grateful can be such a challenge. Especially when we focus on what we want. It’s nice to sit back and be grateful for what we actually have. Thanks for sharing!
    Loreina recently posted…Dermagist Eye Revolution Gel ReviewMy Profile

  17. katherine

    6 November

    Great post! It’s something to think about!
    katherine recently posted…If You Were Me Book SeriesMy Profile

  18. Corlie

    6 November

    “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” what a beautiful and apt quote!
    You are completely right, gratitude can make us happy. It is so important to take time to be thankful, so now as I sit here I will say I am thankful for being busy! Last year this time I was bored and wished my life had more purpose. And now even though today and this whole last few months in fact I am rushing around like a madwoman, I am thankful for all this purpose my life suddently has.
    Thanks for a lovely post 🙂
    Corlie recently posted…Recently featured on livecolourful.com – Be bright and fearlessMy Profile

  19. Ronnie

    6 November

    I love your son’s tradition. It’s such a great way to appreciate your day and think positive.
    Ronnie recently posted…Necklace and Earring Set from AKVJewelryMy Profile

  20. Debi

    6 November

    I have heard about this before. It is all in the way we see things.
    Debi recently posted…Price Chopper: Hood Harvey Bars 6ct Only $1 w/Doubler!My Profile

  21. Natalie

    7 November

    gratitude can make us happy, what a great attitude to have..
    Natalie recently posted…Soft & Seamless Skinwear $100 Giftcard GiveawayMy Profile

  22. […] Gratitude: It’s Not About Being Happy, It’s What Makes You Happy (middlesage.com) […]

  23. Shanna

    8 November

    So true! In this day and age, people are always searching for happiness, but it’s right under their nose.
    Shanna recently posted…How to Be the Most Powerful Mom on the Block #MCMy Profile

  24. […] Gratitude: It’s Not About Being Happy, It’s What Makes You Happy (middlesage.com) […]

  25. I love how you talk about being grateful for your highlights AND your lowlights.I’m finding it’s more important for me to practice gratitude when things aren’t going my way!
    Stacey @ The Anonymous Blonde recently posted…Finishing the Year Strong….with just Four Simple GoalsMy Profile

    • Barbara Coleman

      13 November

      You’re absolutely right, when things are going you’re way it’s easy. Here’s to putting the past into a better frame of reference!

  26. […] week I talked about Gratitude being easy (Gratitude: It’s Not About Being Happy, It’s What Makes Us Happy)  – especially when life is good. […]

  27. […] Gratitude: It’s Not About Being Happy, It’s What Makes You Happy (middlesage.com) […]

  28. […] Gratitude: It’s Not About Being Happy, It’s What Makes You Happy (middlesage.com) […]

  29. […] Gratitude: It’s Not About Being Happy, It’s What Makes You Happy (middlesage.com) […]

  30. […] Gratitude: It’s Not About Being Happy, It’s What Makes You Happy (middlesage.com) […]

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