“Don’t be ungrateful.”
If your mother was anything like mine, you may have heard that a time or two. And if you are anything like me, you did as you were told. “Be grateful,” I remember thinking, “because to do otherwise is just impolite and unpleasant.”
It wasn’t until years later that I began to realize that there was a bigger and more important reason to be grateful. The fact is that gratitude is about more than just manners—and more even than gratitude itself. When performed as a conscious practice, gratitude is a means to train our attention to effortlessly gravitate toward the positive aspects of our lives: the people who love us, the ways in which we are supported, the blessings that come unexpectedly, and on and on.
As our attention is pulled toward that which is positive, we naturally focus less on that which is negative. And as we become more consciously appreciative of the gifts in our lives, our mental and emotional states are shifted for the better and we enter a virtuous cycle that naturally supports our happiness and well-being.
Yes, gratitude, it turns out, is the fastest way to synthesize happiness out of thin air.
And of course, this means that your being grateful is as much for you as it is for those people around you—in fact, even more so.
About the Author
Eric Walrabenstein is a nationally-recognized speaker, teacher, and author and is one of the most sought-after authorities on the application of yogic technology for self healing and empowerment in the nation. As the founder of one of Arizona’s largest yoga centers, and Arizona's first 500-hour Master-Level Yoga Teacher Training Program, Eric has long been dedicated to making ancient wisdom and techniques practical and relevant for people from all walks of life. In addition to his work in his wellness center in Phoenix, Arizona, he is the creator of BOOTSTRAP, a yoga-based program to help troops and veterans heal from post traumatic stress as well as BetterBox, a subscription box revolutionizing the self-improvement industry. An ordained Yogacharya (preceptor of yoga), Eric is currently finishing a book on the Science of Happiness.