Gratitude: The Happiness Drug

by Meg Guiseppi on April 8, 2014

Be grateful

The title of Dave Kerpen’s article, The Legal Drug That Nobody’s Talking About, struck a chord.

When I saw that “gratitude” was the drug, I was struck by the wisdom, and wanted to see if his attitude of gratitude works the same way as mine.

Sure enough, when his first reaction to a situation is negative or explosive, he goes to a place of gratitude instead, just as I’ve been training myself to do for several years now.

I don’t believe I’ve had any more than my share of challenges – in my career and personal life – but, like many of us, sometimes I don’t deal well with the hand dealt to me.

Now, when I feel about to explode, or when I’m sinking into a loop of negative thoughts, I’ll say to myself “I have to turn this around.” For me, that means turning off the negative and turning on gratefulness.

For instance, a few years ago I had to dig out and replant elsewhere 3 or 4 large, overgrown shrubs in my yard. For some reason I can’t remember now, I had to get it done that day and no one else was available to help me.

About halfway through, I’d had enough. It was hard work. I resented having to do it. I felt my blood pressure rising.

I allowed myself to grumble a little, but then pulled out my magic phrase, “I have to turn this around”.

I immediately said to myself (or I may even have said it out loud), “How fortunate I am that I’m strong enough to actually accomplish this.”

That did the trick. I suddenly felt happy. And I’ve leaned on the method ever since.

Another one of my turnaround tactics is to think of the people in my life I’m grateful for. It has very calming effect.

Likewise, can you see how, when dealing with the ups and downs of job search and career, turning away from negativity and towards gratefulness can be a life saver?

I hope you’ll take the gratitude drug whenever you need to.

Dave summed up the value of gratitude in a way we can all appreciate:

“The biggest difference gratitude has made on my life is on my happiness. I used to believe I could never be happy – no matter what, I was always driven for more. More revenues, more companies, more books, more children. I actually believed that my lack of contentment was good – because it kept me ambitious and striving for more.

Now, I feel the opposite way – now I believe I can always be happy, because no matter what, I have so much to be grateful for. I can still be driven to succeed, and happy at the same time, and it feels amazing.”

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