G.L.A.D. to be Happy, for the Rest of Your Life (In JUST 60 seconds)
By Ron Rubenzer, EdD, MA, MPH, MSE, FAIS
*This is an article from the Summer/Fall 2022 issue of Combat Stress
This is your life story.
If you are not influencing the story of your life, who or what is?
Free will is what makes us human. Starting now, make the rest of your life, the best of your life (or at least better). Time only moves from this day forward. Nothing ever happened in the past that can prevent you from being present now (Eckhart Tolle).1
Make Happiness a G.L.A.D. “Practiced Habit.” Some principles of being content can be boiled down to these G.L.A.D “practiced habits.”
G.L.A.D. stands for:
You owe a debt of gratitude to your parents. By today’s standards, you cost almost a quarter million dollars to raise from childhood. ($233,610.00 USD, 2017).2 Be grateful to your parents. You also owe thanks to the countless “makers” of everything you use, consume or enjoy.
If you have been through many storms, be grateful you are still standing.
Entitlement, the Anti-Gratitude Attitude.
By contrast, the ungrateful “entitled” actually believe life owes them, forever. (By way of review, entitlement is a personality trait driven by exaggerated feelings of deservingness… [which] may lead to chronic disappointment.3
Gratitude Stem: I am grateful for ______. I can “pay forward” by __________________. (e.g., giving a heartfelt compliment)
Make fun of stress. Some actually believe stress is your friend. Your sense of humor is your sense of balance. Keep a humor file, to use in case of emergency. Share your “smiles across the miles”. Try to have one “good humor man” (i.e., person) in your life.
Humor Stem: A funny thing happened to me ______.
It is our mind’s “default setting” to want things to be the way we WANT them to be (wishful thinking). Accepting people and things as they ARE (he/she actually thinks that way) is a beginning point to calmer, effective action that will eventually change our circumstances or our minds.
Acceptance Stem: Just for today I will “Grin and Bear” it when ____________ (e.g., he tells the same joke for the hundredth time)
Dedication to any valuable cause beyond yourself is almost guaranteed to bring you happiness. If you have a pulse, you have a purpose.
Devotion Stem: I am dedicated to: ____________ (e.g., the ones I love).
If you really want to be happy for the rest of your life, perhaps once a week, check if you are really being G.L.A.D. Practice Gandhi’s wisdom. “Be the change you want to see…”4
Always remember, the pursuit of happiness has been our birthright for over 245 years. The quest for happiness is the bedrock of our Declaration of Independence.5
Pursue your happiness, now, my friend, don’t let it pass you by. Don’t say, I’ll be happy when I finish this or that.
If you can’t be happy, make at least another person happy, and as the saying goes, you WILL be happy too.
To make our readers happy, the Mindful Minute evolved.
Mark Twain once said, ‘I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one.’