The United States is a nation of affluence and plenty, but sometimes, this fact may warp a person’s perspective on their everyday life. Often, Americans are exposed to constant advertising and opportunities to borrow money, which leads most adults to have a perspective where they only focus on what they want, and not what they have. This “I need more” paradigm may wear out a person and lead to unhappiness, no matter how many items they have or how much money they have saved up. Money does not buy happiness, as they say, and there’s a nugget of truth to that. By contrast, a person may practice gratitude instead, and this is when they appreciate what they have and their personal relationships rather than constantly pine for what they don’t have. Gratitude is not only expected of mature adults, but it can lead to great happiness and a healthy perspective on material goods. Personal life coaching may involve practicing gratitude, and that’s in addition to meditation books and the like. Meditation and gratitude may often go hand in hand.
Americans and Gratitude
This is not to say that no one in the United States is ever ungrateful for the things that they have or the people whom they know. Surveys and statistics are being kept about Americans’ general feelings of gratitude and contentment, an while concepts like “happiness” and “gratitude” are abstracts, they can at least be roughly measured. For example, a recent survey showed that around 33% of Americans, a minority, reported being happy (in their own terms) in everyday life, but those numbers could be boosted with the aid of meditation books and gratitude guides, among other materials. Meanwhile, surveys and statistics show that around 52% of women practice gratitude daily, and around 44% of men do the same. What is more, a majority of people, 62% of them, report being grateful for their children and family, and 69% of people say that they are grateful when something good and unexpected happens to them.
There are, in fact, benefits to something as intangible and sentimental as gratitude. It may even boost sleep, and many Americans, according to statistics, are in need of better sleep. A 2011 study showed that people who write in gratitude journals right before bed may sleep better and longer, and a different study in 2013 showed that people who are grateful during waking hours sleep better at night. It’s also likely that feelings of gratitude may lower stress, as a person is focused on the joy of what they have and not the anxiety or misery of focusing on what they want but don’t have. There’s no single route to happiness, but some general strategies may prove helpful.
A More Grateful Life
Happiness is different for everyone, but practicing gratitude and meditation may go a long way. This is a fine idea for anyone, whether they are college students or the elderly, men or women, wealthy business people or blue-collar workers. Everyone can and should be happy, regardless of their station, and meditation books and coaches can help. Meditation is often dismissed by the American public, but to the contrary, medication has often proven to have positive mental effects of all sorts. Meditation doesn’t have to involve action to be helpful, and in fact relaxing and expanding the mind is the central focus of meditation. A person may hire a meditation coach and read meditation books if they choose, and a relaxed mind may more easily focus itself on the good things and relationships that a person has. This may transform their perspective in a healthy way, and gratitude may become easy this way. Meditation is also a fine way to reduce stress and anxiety, and help the mind sort through any issue that is troubling it.
Physical changes can help, too. A person may more easily practice gratitude when they reevaluate their personal items, donating or recycling anything that they no longer use or want. This allows them to focus on and appreciate what they still have, and a person’s finances may benefit from this, too. Keeping a spending log is an effective way to reduce impulsive or unnecessary shopping, and allow a person to get their money’s worth out of what they already have and cherish.