A Tale of Two Holidays: Greed & Gratitude

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Gobbling up Gratitude

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the circumstances surrounding us, as illustrated in this scene below from the sitcom The Good Place. Current economic conditions and the myriad implications thereof can certainly diminish the typical luster of the fast-approaching holidays. Life’s challenges are numerous and made more pronounced by everyday concerns like the ongoing return to office battle, continual housing shortage, or even something as simple as grocery shopping.

Yet, as depicted in the below video by investor Ray Dalio, the cycle between income versus cost of living is just that—a cycle. We may be wandering within the dreary fog of the inflation stage, but a better stage lurks somewhere on the horizon. Thus, through this cloud of doubt and despair, hope and gratitude may yet break through.

Our perceptions—our emotions—have as much impact on these economic tides as they have on us, as depicted in this piece. Cognitive scientist Laurie Santos further emphasizes how each of us can reshape our realities through the power of perspective in the below video. For the most part, the emotional impact of big events, whether happy or sad, is ephemeral, described by the model of hedonic adaptation. This is why we often find ourselves dwelling on recent lows while chasing new highs.

But to escape this cycle, all we need do is pursue a practice of sustained well-being. Forging human connections and expressing gratitude for existing connections weaves mutual sustainability. Happiness doesn’t have to be evanescent. It doesn’t have to be reliant on the whims of economic, professional, or personal circumstances.

Happiness can be sustainable when we look beyond ourselves and reach a caring hand out to others. Therein shines the true spirit of the holiday season—the glow of togetherness.

“Be thankful for everything that happens in your life; it’s all an experience.”
– Roy T. Bennett

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