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"If only I had a job that paid more… If only I were born in a rich family … If only I could afford a bigger house…"

So many of us live in a perpetual state of wanting more—more money, more shiny new toys, more things. And we chase those material possessions with more gusto than we pursue what’s been empirically shown to increase happiness: more gratitude, more experiences, and more time. Research shows that rich people aren’t any happier day-to-day than the rest of us. In fact, many are more stressed and spend less time doing enjoyable activities. Clearly, we’re not usually focused on what we have. We often focus on what we don’t have. And when we do focus on the things that we have, we zoom in on the problems, making them bigger and brighter. However, anytime we do that, those problems just take center stage in our lives.

Gratitude is the pathway to happiness and success in life. The more we’re grateful for the things we have, no matter how little they might be, the happier and sated we’ll be in life. Why do we have to wait until something is taken from us to appreciate it in the here and now? Learn to be grateful and count your blessings, because tomorrow it might all be gone.Every morning, take five minutes to list everything you are grateful for in a journal. Not only will you be surprised by how much you appreciate in your life right now, you'll get an immediate mood boost. Immersing your mind in all the good stuff fills you up with contentment.

It’s important to be present and to quite literally live in the moment if you’re serious about appreciating what you have. There are so many miracles that are occurring all around us, that when we stop to actually pay attention, it a complete marvel and a wonder. The simple beauty of life and consciousness is so utterly astonishing that we have to be present and appreciate it. It’s hard to do when we’re so immersed in our problems, but also a very important step to take to appreciate life. Don’t take that for granted. There’s almost no way to appreciate the things we have in life when we’re so consumed by the ensuing negative energy created by things like hatred and animosity. There’s no room for it in your life. Let it go. It’s an important step in the healing and maturing process.

The truth is that life is a beautiful gift. It’s here today, and can easily be gone tomorrow.