The Gratitude Experiment #1 - Overflowing with Thanksgiving

NOTE: To watch the video we used in our Sunday service, "The Science of Happiness" click HERE.

The preamble to the Declaration of Independence states a belief that the Creator has given us certain inalienable rights, including life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness. Even if we haven’t been in a civics or government class in a while, weknow, as Americans, these things are our birthright.
 
It’s interesting to me that Jefferson (& his editors) included the phrase “the pursuit of happiness” - & it makes me ask the questions, “What would it take for us to BE happy?” And “If I’m pursuing happiness, what does it look like when I CATCH it?”
 
Think about it: what would make you happy… for a long time? Think big. Winning the lottery? Being able to live in a tropical paradise? Your favorite sports team winning the Super Bowl/World Series/etc…?
 
It seems like that would do the trick – surprisingly, however, statistics say something different. For example, a study of lottery winners showed an initial spike in happiness immediately following their winning the big bucks. However, within 9-12 months of the win, lottery winners reported that they felt no more “happy” than they had before they won all the money.

People adapt to their life circumstances - & in order to “be happy” we need to do something/try something new. Which works for a while – until we adapt again. It’s like being on a “pursuit of happiness treadmill,” always chasing, but never quite attaining it permanently. (The scientific name for this phenomena is “the hedonic treadmill.” Google it.)
 
So what can a person do to increase their longer-lasting feelings of happiness? Again statistics reveal that people who regularly express gratitude & thankfulness to those in their lives have a significantly higher sense of happiness. I think that the reason for this is expressing gratitude involves being mindful of our life circumstances, & actively looking for the areas where we have been blessed, loved, & cared for.
 
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be in a series called, “The Gratitude Experiment.” I’d like to encourage you to take time to write some lists of the people, places, & things that you are thankful for. Then, write a brief note to the people in your life that you’re thankful for & blessed by.
 
Blessings, grace, & peace to you – 



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