Why Gratitude Makes You Happier and Wealthier - Christine Kane

(In Honor of Thanksgiving.)

Gratitude is about so much more than being thankful. Gratitude is a practice. For some, it is a way of life. Why do some people swear by this practice? Why do those people live happier and more abundant lives than everyone else?

Because gratitude is about presence.

Gratitude is about waking up in this moment and being here – really being here – and noticing what’s around you. Most people are so busy thinking about the next thing, or their horrid past, that they don’t wake up and look around at their present moment — the only moment there is.

Because gratitude is about honoring your life.

Do you ever compare your life with someone else’s? Do you ever wish your life were better and more like another’s? Sometimes we can lose ourselves in wondering how we “measure up” to some standard set by someone else or by the media or by our parents. My belief is this: Comparison is the mind killer. And the antidote is gratitude.

Gratitude requires you to validate your own life. (And you really don’t have any other life, do you?) It forces you say YES to the gift that is you. The choices you’ve made, the changes you’ve gone through, the track you’re on — all of those have brought you here. Even if here is a place that needs a little adjustment, that’s okay. There are always gifts in any present moment.

Because gratitude is about attracting.

It’s difficult to attract abundance and joy if you are saying “no” to what IS. You say no each time you focus too much on the future or past, or when you criticize something that is in your present moment. When you say yes, you shift. Attraction is about “yes.”

Gratitude says, “Yes, I love this!” And then more of this is attracted, because the this is what you’re focusing on.

Because gratitude is about choice.

How you translate any situation is the situation. What you choose to see is the truth (for you). This isn’t proposing that you live in denial or phoniness. It’s reminding you that your translation of any life situation is your own choice. Over and over we’ve all heard stories of people who have ignored others’ translations of their talent, their projects, their art, their looks, their lives. These people chose their own translations and succeeded. You always have a choice when it comes to how you look at things. Choose to choose gratitude.

Because gratitude is about wisdom.

I think people believe they’re being smart if they criticize, complain, and focus on the problems of the world around them. Smart? Maybe. Clever? Sure. But not wise. It is wise to look for and find the knowing place in your heart. It is wise to choose joy. It is wise to honor your riches. It is wise to focus on and grow the blessings of your life.

Because gratitude is about recognition.

Use your power of focus to hone in on the beauty and on what makes your heart smile or sing. Recognize the spirit in your life. It’s all around you waiting to be noticed. In the words of Franz Kafka, “It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

Because gratitude is about receptivity.

Gratitude makes you receptive. It makes you concave. It makes you a vessel, waiting to be filled.

I carry a small notebook with me everywhere I go. In it, I write down song ideas as I hear them. I write down quotes I hear. I write down ideas for stage stories. As I do that, I become more receptive, and more ideas and songs come to me. It’s a tool that says to my subconscious, “Send more my way!” And the subconscious always responds.

Gratitude is the same way. It says, “I am receptive! Send more!” And more arrives.

Because gratitude is about creativity.

Creativity is really all about attention. When I write a song, I build a relationship with that song. I spend time with it. I get to know it. I pay attention to it. Artists do the same thing with drawings. They spend time in rapt attention and the drawing is born.

Gratitude is the same way. It is a creative act to notice and pay attention to the moments of your life. Some days it’s an enormous act of creativity to even find things for which to be thankful.

Be creative. Be present. Be receptive. Be wise. Be wealthy. Be grateful.

  • christine

    Hi Julie! thanks! (that word was actually coined (i think) by brenda euland…in her book “if you want to write.”)

  • Julie

    Hi Christine,
    Just discovered your blog the other day.
    Wanted to say that this entry was worth reading just for the word ‘moodle’. Love it!

  • christine

    Hello Doug… and welcome! Thanks for all of your thoughts. I’ve read Gregg Braden.. but I get a little bogged down by the “mentalness” of him. I’m sure I’ll find my way back at some point. I’m glad to have you translate it for me though. (and for all of us!) I love this idea… especially your summation in the last sentence… “being thankful for our choice to choose” is quite a lovely thing to remember. Thanks…

  • Doug

    Hi Christine

    I think you hit the hail on the head when you said Gratitude requires that you say YES to the gift that is you. There are so many that are looking outside of ourselves and comparing…when we forget that we are also a very special gift ourselves , unique and talented in our own special way and that we always have so much to be grateful for.

    I have been studying the Law of Attraction and gratitude is a major step. I also came across a book written by Gregg Braden called the Isaiah Effect. I was wanting to get my eyes on his book “the Lost Mode of Prayer” but they cover a similar topic around the Dead Sea Scroll which I think are the scrolls that they speak about in “The Secret” movie.

    One of the things he talks about in this lost mode of prayer, which I say it the manifestation process, is to be grateful for all that is and all that will come to pass and do this without judgment …just as a observer. For things that you may not interpret as as good for you be grateful for the lessons learned or just for the potential of the goodness in the experience.

    One of the things that he mentions in the book is that after you do your prayer of creation (The Fifth Mode of Prayer), the feeling as if your desire has some to pass,
    he says to be grateful, and this is where I got a insight into gratitude this weekend, He said to be grateful for the opportunity to choose which creation we experience and through our thanks we honor all possibilities and bring the ones we choose into our lives.

    So it’s more like honoring all we experience and being thankful for all and also being thankful for our choice to choose.

    Keep up the good work

  • christine

    Hey Caren, Thanks for that link!

    Mags, We went all over. My favorite spots were Cape Town and the Grahamstown Arts Festival. It was about 15 years ago! I had just graduated from college. It’s such a beautiful country.

  • Mags

    I live in Cape Town, with a mountain on one side of the house and sea on the other – I’m very grateful for my little spot in the world (even as we are in the process of moving to Scotland next year – I’m also very grateful for this new adventure!).
    I hope you enjoyed your time in SA – it’s a complex country in many ways, but has much beauty in it’s environment and people. Whereabouts did you hitchhike?

  • Caren

    I know you’ve mentioned The Secret — here’s a link to a visualization tool the creators of that movie have made. OK – Visualization Tool sounds like a special set of glasses; this is a short movie you can download and watch every day. http://thesecret.tv/secret-to-you/

    Peace –

  • christine

    Hi PTC! Yes, that one’s a lifelong lesson for some of us!

    Thanks for the great link, Marina!

    Hi again Mags… Where in SA do you live? I spent three weeks hitchiking all over the place there. And as I rarely go to the mall, I’m not sure if we have Christmas eggs. But if it makes money, I’m sure it’s here somewhere!

  • Mags

    Hi again – Yes, here in South Africa, the Christmas carols are playing, the decorations are up in the shopping centres, and the shops are selling Christmas goodies already! It seems to get earlier every year – this year a couple of our bigger retail stores were “getting into the Christmas spirit” in October already 🙂 Do the shops in the US also stock Christmas eggs – essentially “Easter” eggs, but for Christmas, eg Santas instead of bunnies?! (This seems to be a new thing here, started last Christmas I think.)
    It’s a crazy time of year… even more important to keep reminding ourselves and each other of the deeper meaning behind any of the holidays!
    Cheers, Mags.

  • Marina

    Just this morning a friend sent me this article about the link between gratitude and happiness: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061124.whappiness24/EmailBNStory/specialScienceandHealth/home

    Being grateful takes so little time or effort and the benefits are immense.

    Thanks for your great post Christine!

  • Palmtreechick

    and Be Yourself! Sorry, I got caught up in all the “be’s.”

    Great points, Christine. I’m always so grateful for my friends and family and the people around me but I am not very grateful for myself. Thanks for making me look at that.

  • christine

    Hi Mags! And thanks for writing. No matter what the holiday anyone is celebrating, it’s always good to remember to be grateful… glad you’re catching the spirit! (Are they already playing Christmas carols in your country???)

  • Mags

    Happy Thanksgiving, Christine (and everyone else)! And thank you for the lovely post about the spirit of the holiday. I live in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving day, but it has been wonderful feeling the gratitude emanating from US bloggers at the moment. It’s deliciously contagious!
    All the best, Mags