My car has a world-class GPS system in it. It’s a genuine, high-tech, (the kind I need our 13-year-old to explain), sure-to-get-me-where-I-want-to-go virtual assistant that guides me in my travels. Only problem is, I vocalized that I wanted to get to happiness and it was stuck. Some GPS system that is! If you want your inner GPS to guide you to happiness and health, read on …
I rely on my GPS: Gratitude, Positivity and Sensitivity. Not very high-tech, no fancy labels, no online FAQs, not the latest on the market, but always—ALWAYS—gets me where I want to go in life.
The word anchored in the Latin word, gratia, meaning grace, graciousness or gratefulness. It’s that underrated and underutilized thankful appreciation for the good we receive in life, whether from our own efforts or from other people or a higher power. Super-star gratitude-dudes allow the feeling of positivity to grow within them for things, events, people and circumstances that don’t look all that good at first glance. They retain a gratitude mindset in the face of real life challenges and discomforts. We never really know the purpose of why something happens but with my GPS system, we always know it will lead to good.
The gratitude personality I strive for is one that recognizes there are no “nos” in life, only a “yes” to be discovered, perhaps at another time or in another place.
Recent research has pointed to gratitude as an elixir of mental and physical health, alertness and happiness. No navigation system has yet figured out how to direct a driver to optimism and happiness, but gratitude seems to be the forgotten factor in getting to these healthy states.
And as the founder of positive psychology, Martin Seligman says,“We estimate that being in the upper quartile of optimism seems to have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular risk roughly equivalent to not smoking two packs of cigarettes daily.”
People who are deeply thankful, sensitive, positive, who count their blessings, notice the simple joys of daily life, and acknowledge everything they have in positive ways, those are the people who engage in healthier behaviors and generally take better care of themselves.
This means they …
Think more clearly.
Move more frequently.
Want to sleep better? Want to exercise more? Want to prevent or reduce stress, anger, anxiety and depression? Want to recover from traumatic events more quickly? Want to enjoy the simple things in life instead of focusing on what you don’t have that others do? Want to have a healthier set of priorities? Want to bring joy into the lives of others along with yourself? Need to recalibrate your negative thinking?
Gratitude, positivity and sensitivity. The “Mantell GPS System.”
Start creating that thankful approach to every person, every circumstance, every place, everything in your life. Write down, on a regular basis, what you feel most grateful for. Research at my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, tells us that your happiness will grow more from this than from many other interventions out there.
Can you think? Be grateful for the good you can contemplate. Can you see? Be grateful for the beauty that you can see. Can you hear? Be grateful for the soothing sounds of life that you can hear. Get it? Use the GPS system to get you there.
What’re the steps to being grateful?
What’s good about your daily life regardless of what you have or don’t yet have?
What can go right?
Are you appreciative of what you have … and don’t yet have?
Who have you sincerely thanked today?
Can you express emotion in a positive manner?
You are either fulfilled or on the way to being fulfilled… never unfulfilled
Do you have the lens to understand that whatever happens always happens for the good? Always. Just be patient.
Do you look for what you can like in every person and situation you come across in life?
Here are my top five actions you can take to turn on this GPS system:
1. Never miss an opportunity to say thank-you, it’ll connect you to others in a positive way. To paraphrase, if “thank you” is the only prayer you say, it’ll suffice.
2. Meditate. If that sounds too “heavy” then at least think about people, places, things and events on a regular basis, that you can create the feeling of grateful for — past and present. Focus on what can go right, not wrong.
3. Tweet, post or hang gratitude-expanding sayings, phrases, posters, and prayers throughout social media and hang them around your home and, if you can, in your workplace, as well.
4. Recognize the good in everything. That’s right. Look for it. It’s there. Find a way to “paint adversity into a lovely picture” (Kak Sri’s observation).
5. No matter what you don’t yet have, do not feel sorry for yourself! It’s enough you are alive! Repeat after me, This too is for the good! Say it often.
P.S. Need a gratitude boost?
It’s the 25th Anniversary updated edition of my 1988 original, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: P.S. It’s All Small Stuff. Click the image to order!