Choosing to be happier

Showing gratitude leads to a better life

By Elizabeth Casella, Managing Editor

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Showing gratitude has many benefits, like helping others increases one’s own happiness, too. (Image from istockphoto.com)

Today one of the most common themes to be lacking from the world and especially the millennial generation is the appreciation for not only life, but also all the things it includes.

Saying “thank you” when someone opens a door and actually meaning it seems silly, putting down the phone to help out others, or really understanding the precious things in life, all of these may seem trivial or like a waste of time. They truly aren’t, though. Now-a-days one of the most lacking things in society is gratitude.

The Webster’s dictionary definition of gratitude is, “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Many people do not truly understand this and take this at face value. Simply saying thank you as one passes someone by because they held a door open has become a formality, not a true show of appreciation. Actually going out of one’s way to help someone carrying groceries to the car or helping a friend in need and taking the time to listen are ways of showing true gratitude towards others. With technology and the self-indulgent attitude of the millennial generation, the art of gratitude and practice of kindness is slowly dying.

Everyone is invested in what is happening on the screen and who likes what on whatever social media they so choose. It is all about them and not about enjoying life or others. One of the biggest problems is that gratitude is learned like every other human emotion by feeling it and seeing others experiences.

Learning by example is the best teaching method. If this generation does not start embracing more gratitude and setting examples it may be a practice completely lost to the next generation that is not being taught this.

Not only is gratitude important but also it truly can make life better. Choosing to be happier is one major benefit. By being kinder and thankful for more things in life, the overall happiness level that one has goes up because gratitude ultimately gives individuals true happiness.

This practice also will draw others in and make one more likeable. It makes one nicer, more sociable, friendlier and more caring. These are all qualities that people seek out in others to surround themselves with for a positive vibe. Gratitude makes us more optimistic, strengthens other emotions and gives definition to personality. The list of benefits goes on. There is no real downside to stepping back and readjusting one’s perspective.

There are no downsides to being more grateful and slowing down to enjoy life more. Being more in the moment, spending time with others and most importantly being present in life instead of hiding behind a smartphone will all help to make one happier overall.

It will also give one a new appreciation for the little things in life and the people that surround them, even strangers. Simple actions of kindness met with a “thank you” that truly seems to have meaning behind it and a smile can change anyone’s day. It may even save a life.

So millennials especially need to take the time to really learn what gratitude is and embrace it for a happier life, healthier life. Not only for themselves, but those around them as well.

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