Last week, a friend asked me, “Are you happy?”
“Yes!” I answered enthusiastically and she asked, “Why do you think that is?”
Without hesitation, I told her, “I am happy because I am grateful for all I have in my life.”
She was surprised to hear my answer because she’s studying human behavior and told me gratefulness is a huge part of happiness. I have healthy, beautiful children, an amazing, loving husband and most importantly, my health. I have had my fair share of stress but in the big picture, my worries are small and seemingly unimportant compared to those of so many others.
This friend told me that a big component to happiness is giving. I recall the quote, “There is no such thing as a selfless act,” and I agree. Giving makes us feel good and in doing so, we not only help others, we also help ourselves.
So now the question is, how do we practice gratefulness and giving on a daily basis?
The gratefulness part is easy. I make it a habit to thank the universe daily, especially when I see someone who is less fortunate than I am. Unfortunately that happens all the time. Not a day passes when I don’t see a homeless person on the street or a horrific event on the news affecting hundreds of people. I make it a point to be intentionally grateful every morning. I realize this sounds basic and corny but I truly believe this is one of the most important things we can do each day.
Giving is a bit harder. When we see a homeless individual or refugees trying to escape harm, do we dig into our pockets to help? I promise you if we did, the world would begin to heal. We would help those who need it and in doing so, we actually increase our serotonin levels making us all nicer people to live with. I encourage everyone to find a way to give on a daily basis. Just a dollar each day to a worthy organization or individual will do. In most cases, it’s a quarter of what we spend on our daily cup of coffee.
Giving doesn’t always have to involve money. How about helping your neighbor by raking their leaves in the fall or shoveling their walk a few times in winter? Bring that homeless person a sandwich from home on your way into work or find an organization and volunteer to help those in need.
I guarantee by combining a mindful practice of gratefulness and giving you will find happiness. Make it your goal to practice both and spread the word. Life can be good when we appreciate all we have and help others who have so much less.
– Germaine Caprio, MAJAMAS EARTH Company Owner & Designer