If you have been feeling unhappy lately, you’re not alone.
According to a recent report on happiness conducted by The Harris Poll, only 1 in 3 Americans report being very happy. Another report, put together by Gallup and the health care data analytics firm Sharecare, confirms Americans are indeed feeling a decline in their sense of purpose, the strength of their relationships and their financial and physical health. In fact, both studies show that American unhappiness has been in decline over the past decade.
While there are a myriad factors that contribute to our unhappiness, I believe an ungrateful attitude plays a key role in bringing us closer to or taking us further away from happiness.
Did you know that simply being grateful can improve your physical and psychological health, help you make friends and even give you a better night sleep?
The reverse is also true. Having an ungrateful attitude can lead you on a downward path to unhappiness and an unhealthy emotional life. Here are five emotional diseases that come out of ungratefulness and eat away at your happiness:
This downward trend all begins with ingratitude. The inability to say thank you is like a plague. It is a disease that takes away life. When ingratitude exists in your life, you are near falling off a cliff that is often impossible to find your way back up again. Ingratitude is the opposite of how God designed us to live. When we are ungrateful, we suffer from tunnel vision, focusing only on what’s wrong and ignoring the many blessings we have.
The moment you begin thinking you are entitled to certain things, you are entering into dangerous territory. When ingratitude is tolerated in your life, soon you will slide down the slippery slope into an entitlement mentality.
This is so evident in our nation today. People think they are entitled to certain things and the government, the church or society as whole owes them. This entitlement mentality goes back to people’s view of God. We have to ask ourselves, does God owe us anything? The answer should be pretty clear.
The more content you are, the more grateful you are. Sadly, ingratitude leads to feeling entitled, and this leads to falling into a land of discontentedness.
We see discontent people all the time. Discontent over the way they look. Discontent over where they live and what they drive. Discontent with their relationships. Discontent with their job, convinced they are entitled to more. Discontent people cast a palpable, negative mood wherever they go – and people don’t want to be around them! Discontentedness points backward to one glaring reality: an ungrateful heart.
If there’s one thing that is not in short supply in America it’s critics. America is teeming with self-appointed pundits. Everyone has an opinion on everything, and – guess what? – it’s usually negative. People are critical of our nation, the military and our leaders. People are critical of our flag and what it stands for nationally and internationally. People are even critical of the Bible and the church.
Do you criticize constantly? Is sarcasm, which is nothing more than backhanded criticism, always near your lips? Being critical of other people and leaders of organizations and governments is nothing to be proud of. When you think you are the only one who is ever right, you are living in deception.
Ingratitude culminates in cynicism. Nowadays, people hold their cynicism up like a badge of honor, as if they were more enlightened or informed than others. What a sad commentary on our current culture. No matter how good the news might be, if you always find something wrong to complain about, then you’re a cynic. Creating disbelief and casting continual suspicion creates division and damages our relationships and our ability to contribute to our community and our nation.
Ingratitude is a walking billboard of your unhealthy emotional condition. Conversely, when gratitude is your attitude, you are on your way to living fit emotionally. An ungrateful person repels other people. A grateful person is endearing to other people. There is something special and attractive about a person who overflows with gratitude.
Which one of these attitudes represents your life most of the time?
Is it gratitude or ingratitude? If you want a truthful answer, ask a few people you work with daily. Ask your spouse and your family. What would they say?
We must return to having hearts that are overflowing with gratitude. Gratitude to God for all He has done. Gratitude to others for what they have done for us. Gratitude that still values two of the most powerful words in the English language: “Thank you!”