“It's not happiness that makes us grateful, it's gratefulness that makes us happy.”
Between work, our social lives, and basic day-to-day responsibilities, it’s easy to lose sight of the wonderful people, places, and things right in front of us. We’ll say it—we’re not always as grateful as we should be.
That’s what Kristi Nelson, executive director at the nonprofit A Network for Grateful Living, thought when she helped create the organization's new book Everyday Gratitude: Inspiration for Living Life as a Gift ($12; amazon.com), which was released earlier this year. Chock full of quotes from famous thinkers and historical figures, the book is intended to inspire people to reflect on the good in their life and what they have to be thankful for.
“It's not pursuing more that you get more,” Nelson says. “It's actually loving more what you already have that ends up yielding us more in our lives to be grateful for.”
Although A Network for Grateful Living's website has long served as a go-to hub for gratitude and inspiration, the book takes things a step further. In addition to beautiful lettering and watercolors, each quote is also paired with a question to inspire a deeper impact on the reader's life.
“There's a lot of contemplation behind the wisdom,” says Nelson. “The trick is to then allow that wisdom to catalyze our own contemplation.”
As a stage 4 cancer survivor herself, Nelson believes in the power of changing your outlook on life one day at a time for the better. More than anything, Nelson hopes the book has a ripple effect.
“I actually really like the idea of letting these questions and quotes be conversations at a dinner table, for instance. Questions you ask people at a party. Questions you ask a significant other or child every day,” she says.
“I think it's a beautiful gift we can give ourselves. I also think it's an amazing gift we can give other people. And I don't mean that just in giving the book away, but in sharing the insights and the transformations that come in our own life as a result of being inspired.”
Next time you're feeling down or in over your head, you might consider reading a page from this book; it might just give you the little boost you need. One of the primary founders of the organization Brother David Steindl-Rast may put it best: "It's not happiness that makes us grateful, it's gratefulness that makes us happy."
Excerpted from Everyday Gratitude © by A Network for Grateful Living. Used with permission from Storey Publishing. Watercolors © by Katie Eberts. Additional watercolors by Clikchic Designs.