It’s funny how Thanksgiving, America’s official day of gratitude, is followed by Black Friday, our unofficial day of grumbling. Of course, you can always avoid shopping and sit at home complaining about the “&%@#*ing commercialization of the holidays!” But that sort of defeats the point, doesn’t it? Did you know the Latin root of the word “gratitude” means a happy or pleasant state of mind? So how do we get there?
And how do we maintain that attitude year round?
How about a “Happitude” list? Sorry, I know, that’s more sappy than happy, but it’s actually a play on the word habitude, which means a habitual state of mind. And lists are a pretty good way of doing that. So try it.
Write down the first thing that pops into your mind. It might be something mundane, like, “I’m grateful for indoor plumbing.” And that might lead to something like, “And I’m so glad our pipes don’t leak like they did last year!” Which might lead to something more meaningful like, “Lots of people don’t have indoor plumbing, leaky or otherwise, or even a roof over their heads. I’m so grateful I do!” Little things lead to big things, and pretty soon the list is endless. You’ll have to stop at some point, but add to it tomorrow, and the next day… Result? Happitude. (It’s OK, you can call it habitude if you want.)
Visual prompts are great. When I started this post I decided to pull out “a few” pictures of things that make me happy. I couldn’t stop! Why? Details. It’s not just “my wife” that makes me happy, it’s the adorable little creases around her nose when she laughs, and the tenderness in her eyes when she held our baby daughter (picture below). Details trigger memories. And memories trigger happitude.
Start small. Every day has small things to be thankful for—even crappy days. Happitude mostly has to do with people. So focus on others as much as you can. Want a great illustration? See the Mr. Rogers movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Focusing on others was how Fred Rogers formed a lifelong habitude of kindness and gratitude.
And now it’s our turn.
It’s Photoblog Friday, so here’s a gallery of things that make me happy
(Click on any image to enlarge, or to begin slideshow)