On Happiness and Blissfulness: GRATITUDE

GRATITUDEJust 7 days ago, that is, 168 hours or 10,800 minutes ago if you prefer so, I published on this blog On Happiness and Blisfulness: DEFINITION. Now, 604,800 seconds later, I publish this other article on gratitude. Seven, one hundred and sixty eight, ten thousand and eighty, six hundred and four thousand eight hundred… These are just numbers equivalent to one week depending on which unit of time you take, namely: days, hours, minutes and seconds respectively. If you look back over your last week, how many seconds, minutes or hours have you been feeling happy or bliss?

The first of the capital sins against happiness is: “To devaluate the idea of happiness”. What does it mean “to devaluate the idea of happiness”? Quite simply. Many times we tend to think that feeling happy is just “bullshit”, that this is something of idle people who have the time to think about those things, that we need to meet our daily obligations, to push our projects through, to earn our bread and butter and just have fun at the weekend if possible. The antidote against this first capital sin is: “To Prioritize happiness, but not to pursue it”. In order to achieve something, you first have to know very well that what you want to achieve. Thus, 168 hours ago, that is, a week ago, I presented and exercise consisting in creating your own definition of happiness and naming three or four things you can do to incorporate that definition into your life. I strongly recommend you to do this exercise in case you haven’t done it yet, because this way you will understand the next exercise better. Next exercise derives from the antidote against the second capital sin against happiness. What is capital sin no. 2 against happiness? “To pursue superiority”. We all like to do things well and to feel “superior”, but when that feeling of superiority leads us to underestimate and undermine other people, and then we generate a source of unhappiness. What is the antidote? “Flow”. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi speaks about it on his book actually entitled Flow. So, I’m not going to go deep into this concept, because you can take the chance and read that book and find out about it on your own. However, just in case you feel a little lazy to read, you can also watch the video entitled Flow (you can find the link below). When you flow you enhance your creativity and your propensity towards a state of gratitude, that feeling that leads you to appreciate the benefits you are granted and to respond to them somehow.

Thus, a way to avoid feeling superior to others is the practice of gratitude. And that is why I present here the next exercise (you can watch the benefits from this exercise on the link below, at the bottom of this article, entitled Science of Happiness An Experiment in Gratitude):

  1. Choose a person or persons you want to express gratitude to.
  2. Think about something you are grateful for.
  3. Write a letter of gratitude to that person o persons.
  4. Meet that person (if you can meet up, give her a call or send an email; ideally, the best is to see that person face to face) and then read out your letter to her (if the person you chose is a beloved one who has passed away, choose another person who knew your beloved one and read out that letter to her).
  5. Write down how that person felt when you were reading that letter and what she said. How did you feel before, during and after you did the exercise?

This is a simple exercise. However, some people may find it difficult. I encourage you to do it, because you will want to repeat it once you have felt the benefits from it on your way towards happiness. Afterall, how long can it take you to do this exercise? An hour? Two hours? Three hours? Four hours maybe…? If you are planning to do this exercise over the next week and it would really take you four hours, you would still have some other 164 hours more to do many other different things if you wish.

Here you are three links to some interesting videos (do not miss the one by Loui Schwartzberg entitled “Gratitude”).

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow.
Loui Schwartzberg: GRATITUDE
The Science of Happiness: An Experiment in Gratitude

I’ll be back in about 10,080 minutes! Til then, be happy!

Michael Thallium
Global Greatness Coach
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