How Does Gratitude Increase Happiness?

Here’s How to Use Gratitude to Fight Greed

Money doesn’t make you happy, as the saying goes. The greedy know this as well as anyone, but they still pursue their fortune. Materialism is a temptation we can fall into more easily than we like, but we can fight it with another easy tool: gratitude.

A smile filled with delicious treats is a sweet way to say "thanks."

Why Greed Fails

If money is the root of all evil, why do we pursue it? Why is greed so sinister? Psychologists have shown that consumerism is often built to exploit greed. Those who succumb completely to greed may experience lower happiness levels and dissatisfaction with life. They gain a higher risk for stress and depression which strains bodily health and productivity. Choosing oneself over others strains relationships and hinders positive emotions.

These are the symptoms, but what is the cause? Greed fails to produce happiness because people gain happiness through the happiness of others.

What’s the Difference Between Selfishness and Selflessness?

The difference between selfishness and selflessness is that selfishness seeks desire at the expense of the other and selflessness seeks it through fulfilling the other person’s desire. Psychologists have shown that as the body is affected by the strain of selfishness it is sending a message similar to pain. Pain tells the body its actions are causing harm. Bodies are not meant to touch fire, eat unhealthy foods, or act selfishly.

The Cure

The cure to greed is acting toward others as you would have them act toward you. We are all people; putting yourself in another person’s shoes helps you empathize with their needs. Helping people with their needs is more satisfying than exploiting them for the sake of your own needs. Serving others does not even necessitate fostering a relationship. Helping a stranger builds your happiness through building theirs.

Gratitude Fights Greed Best

A particularly good tool to fight greed is gratitude. The mentality you have after you receive a gift can either encourage or discourage greed in you. Thinking continually about how you deserved this gift and it was your due is as bad at building good relationships and happiness as complaining, gossiping, or fostering bitterness.

Instead, show gratitude through a genuine gesture of appreciation. Faking it may delay some bad consequences of greed, but it also puts a thorn in your side. Gratitude starts with genuine thankfulness of attitude and thought. Remember that you did not deserve this. If you receive something through hard work, remember all the blessings enabled you to do that hard work. Not everyone is born into the situation you were or happened to be in the right place at the right time. Many people try incredibly hard with fewer results because their situation works against them. Be humble and thankful while channeling some of that thankfulness towards others.

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