Happiness. What do you think about when you read that word? Do you think about a family member, spouse, a group of friends, or even a particular place? Or, do you think of yourself? Statistics show that people, mainly Americans, are less happy than ever before. Although it seems as if the culprit could be a list of circumstantial and cultural issues, I believe it’s all tied to one main point. The happiness we lack stems from the abstinence of thankfulness in our lives. Thankfulness is the beginning of happiness.
In this post, I want to unpack my statement, thankfulness is the beginning of happiness, and why it’s what we’re all lacking.
First off, I don’t need to explain why you want more happiness in your life. We all know the feeling of being happy, even if it seems to be a distant memory. (Let’s get you back there!) However, in addition to happiness externally making us feel great, there are also internal health benefits to being happy. Recent studies by the makers of Happify explain that people who consider themselves happy have the following:
- A lower heart rate
- Lower levels of stress hormones
- Lower concentrations of a plasma associated with heart disease
- Run a lower risk of getting sick
- A longer life span
Let’s face it, we wall want more happiness in our lives. We long for it at a conscious level, but also at a subconscious level, our bodies crave happiness because it causes us to live healthier lives.
Before I jump into my main point where I’ll explain why thankfulness is the beginning of happiness, I first want to answer the big question that thousands of people ask every day…
Why are people so unhappy?
As a human race, people are more unhappy than ever before. I’ve discovered that there are three main reasons for this decline in our overall happiness. The three main reasons for our unhappiness are comparison, comfort, and entitlement. I’ll explain each in detail below.
Thanks to big media, TV, movies, and even social media platforms, we’re always comparing ourselves to someone else. Comparison will steal your happiness quicker than anything else. The key to overcoming the comparison game is to take these things for what they are. Remember, online, and on TV, you’re seeing someone’s best. Both their successes and their failures, you see it polished and made interesting for you. At the end of the day, each of us are human, and what you see on a screen is not reality. Stop comparing yourself!
This is the silent killer. Do you want to die faster? Live a comfortable life. I could really go on a rant about comfort, but I’ll save it for my book I’m writing on the topic. Here’s the summary, comfort is an illusion. The more comfortable you are consistently, the less happy you’ll be. The more uncomfortable you are, the more you push yourself and don’t allow yourself to relax, the happier you will be. (In moderation, of course) If you want to be happier in life, get off the couch, do something crazy that makes you really uncomfortable, stretch yourself!
I’ve heard many people say that because Donald Trump is the president, they’ve felt more unhappy. GROW UP. Since when is it someone else’s responsibility to make you happy? News flash, life isn’t about you, and it never will be. Yes, I know, I’m being harsher than I usually am here on DailyPS. But many people need to hear this. Life isn’t about you, stop acting like it is. Take responsibility for your life and circumstances. Make the best of every season that you’re in. If there’s something you don’t like happening around you, fill the gap, be the solution instead of the complaining voice. (Remember, I love you all! I’ll stop being harsh now.)
One more thing, happiness is not circumstantial.
Happiness doesn’t come from having a great job or owning a successful business, and it doesn’t come from being debt-free or extremely wealthy. It doesn’t come from being in a stable relationship or having a lot of friends. Everything I just mentioned makes you FEEL happy, but it’s all a byproduct. Happiness is a mindset, not a set of circumstances.
Obviously, there are more reasons why people are so unhappy than I mentioned above. I have found these three reasons to be the root of the happiness crisis that we’re facing. If you can overcome these three things, you’ll begin being happier. But let’s not stop there! Let’s dive into ways to proactively increase your happiness.
How can I be happier?
If you want to be happier in life, you must understand that happiness is a mindset. It’s not your circumstances. And you don’t obtain happiness by avoiding the three main reasons that people are so unhappy that I mentioned above. The key to beginning to live a happier life is to get into a mindset of happiness. The best way to start shifting your mindset is by being thankful. Thankfulness is the beginning of happiness. This isn’t always easy, but if you can remember it in your daily life, you can start becoming a happier person.
Three key points for growing into a mindset of thankfulness:
#1. Expressing gratitude daily.
People have helped you get where you are today, thank them! Thank people for what they’ve done to help you along the way. Even go as far as thanking people for being your friend. My wife and I have taken this very seriously. In fact, every night before bed, the last conversation we have starts with a question, “What are you thankful for from today?” I’ll tell you what, when you really think about it, you have a lot to be thankful for – It helps me sleep better after listing off all the positives that happened in my day.
If you feel like you don’t have a lot to be thankful for right now, remember that the Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in all circumstances. No matter what’s happening around you right now, maintain that internal gratitude for life.
#2. Make your life about more than yourself.
When we make lives about ourselves, we begin seeking the things we talked about above that actually steal our happiness. (Comparison, comfort, and entitlement) If you want to begin experiencing more happiness, start by serving others. You can do this by hosting a party with friends, or even getting involved in a city cleanup project or by feeding the homeless. When you serve others, you’ll experience more happiness in your life; I promise! Life isn’t about you, find ways to live for more than yourself, and you’ll become happier.
#3. Remember that you’re free.
At the end of the day, if you feel like you have nothing at all to be thankful for, remember this: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16. If I were not in a relationship with God and did not understand what this verse means for my life, being a happy person walking in thankfulness would be a whole lot harder for me. Being in a relationship with God and being reminded of what He has done for me, brings more thankfulness and more happiness than anything else in this world ever could.
In conclusion, remember to avoid comparison, comfort, and entitlement because circumstances do not lead to happiness. Instead, remember that thankfulness is the beginning of happiness. You can become happier by expressing gratitude, making life about more than yourself, and lastly, and ultimately, that each of us is free in Christ!
Question for you: Are you chasing after temporary pleasures or lifelong joy?
We covered a lot in this post today. The main point is the title, thankfulness is the beginning of happiness. If there’s one thing I want for your life, it’s for you to be happy. I’ve devoted my life to helping others find happiness and to live the best version of their lives. My prayer today is that you take action. Begin thanking people in your life for the impact they’ve had. Be thankful for what you have and where you are today. I’ll start: I’m thankful for YOU reading this blog post today!