Sophomore Roan Dutta angelically appreciates a wild dandelion. Photo: Lexi Pollard

What do you want in life? Happiness of course. No, if that’s what you want in life I hate to break it to you, but you’re a complete fool. You don’t want happiness you want fulfillment. Happiness is both fleeting and uncontrollable. So what can we substitute for happiness along our journey for fulfillment? The answer is rather straightforward, it’s both controllable and can always be present, it’s gratitude. Gratitude is the grandfather of happiness. Why? because it’s up to you to control. You can choose to be grateful. So do it! Stop hoping for the such a restrictive thing like happiness and start developing an ever-present gratitude for life. Be grateful for the breakfast your mom woke up early to prepare for you. Be grateful for the way the foliage of the trees in autumn color the world like a canvas. Be grateful for a bed to sleep in. Be grateful, because gratitude, unlike happiness, is something no one can take away from you. Gratitude is like a seed plated in the fall, water it and come spring it begins to sprout eventually blooming and spreading it’s roots into every part of your life.

Now you’re probably wondering, “Hayes, how do I bring gratitude into my life.” What I’m about to tell you is something that will make you say, “Hell nah, that sounds boring, no way that would work.” Don’t listen to that voice. So what method is the gold medalist of all? It’s gratitude journaling. Simple yet effective, gratitude journaling enlists the use of paper and pen to write down one to three things you are grateful for everyday. After using this practice for a couple weeks I found myself simply looking at things and feeling gratitude for them. Waves of gratitude began to crash over me at random, and the same will happen to you. Now you must decide to make a change. Take the proactive step to be grateful. Be grateful for the beauty of the chirping of the birds in the morning. Be grateful for the opportunities you’re given by seizing them. But most importantly be grateful for the people around you.

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