Be a Survivor, Not a Victim

Learn to practice gratitude

Here’s an excerpt from Rita Schiano’s new book, Live a Flourishing Life. "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." ~ Epictetus

Psychological research finds that people’s happiness levels are remarkably stable over the long term. A possible explanation comes from studies in the psychology of gratitude. Yes, you read that correctly – being thankful just may be the secret to happiness.

A study* cited that people who were in the gratitude condition felt fully 25% happier – they were more optimistic about the future, they felt better about their lives.

The words “gratitude” and “grace” share a common Latin origin – gratis, meaning “pleasing” or “thankful.” When you are in a deep state of gratitude, you may feel the presence of grace. Reflect on this. As we become more mindful of the present moment, we begin to recognize the things around us that we may have taken for granted.

Recall for a moment how Anne LeClaire paused to watch two cider ducks dive in the water; how that moment gave her a connection and reverence for nature, for the beauty that surrounded her each day, and how she began to think about the many things for which she was grateful.

*Emmons, R.A. and McCullough, M.E. (2003). "Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

~ Melody Beattie

Learning to practice gratitude is one of life’s most valuable lessons. As Aristotle taught us, all virtues have value.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. ~Cicero