Gratitude: The Healthiest Emotion

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."
- Cicero

I love when I come across videos of someone hearing or seeing colors for the first time. It is very emotional. It reminds me that I take beautiful things for granted every day. Perhaps, instead of being frustrated when missing out on that close parking space, we should be thankful for the ability to walk.

The older I get, the more I believe that thriving in life is largely due to having the right perspective, not the right 'stuff'. We, as humans, have the unique ability to train our brains in ways that are beneficial.

"Gratitude doesn't change the scenery. It merely washes clean the glass you look through so you can clearly see the colors."
- Rochelle Goodrice

Here are 3 simple ways to increase gratitude in your life.

1. Look up, not around. Instead of being envious of the few things you don't have, you could be more thankful for all the things you do have. Perhaps when you hit the snooze button in the morning, start your day with 9 minutes of gratefulness. And at the end of the day, instead of counting sheep, count your blessings.

2. Quit complaining. I recently heard someone say that every evening at dinner he asks his kids "What's the best thing that happened to you today?"  In a world of whiners and complainers, you stand out when you focus on wins and successes.

3. Express gratitude. There is a big difference between felt gratitude and expressed gratitude. Get in the habit of expressing gratitude. Write thank you notes. Tell your spouse, kids, co-workers how much you appreciate them. Look your restaurant server in the eye and say "Thank you for the good service." When staying at a hotel, leave the housekeeper with a tip and thank you note for cleaning your room.

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like
wrapping a gift and never giving it."

- William Ward

Like almost everything in life, gratitude is a choice. When you choose to be grateful, life is better for you and everyone around you.