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Looking back on my own writing this year, I found myself writing far too many obituaries — we lost too many talented people in 2007, and it’s tough to sum up the life’s work of an artist you admire in two or three paragraphs punched out on deadline — but I also found they led to some of my most passionate, and most warmly received items.
(Credit here properly belongs to those who inspired me.) I also got worked up writing about such issues as free expression, the hijacking of pop culture for partisan political purposes, and the war on film critics, all of which are, of course, linked.
Those who are more materialistic are more likely to relentlessly pursue wealth. Gratitude has caused me to focus less on things that don’t matter, like making money, and more on the things that do, like my family and this blog. Spiritual transcendence is I believe the opposite to also be true, that gratitude spontaneously gives rise to spiritual attribution, helping one feel closer to God or other religious entities.
So while gratitude won’t make you lazy, over your lifetime you may end up earning less money. You may, for example, spend time with friends, family, and your hobbies. I am irreligious, and have found gratitude practices to make my spiritual position difficult – those moments when I feel intense gratitude make me want to believe in a benevolent God.
We posted nearly 2,500 blog items this year, and you responded withmore than 110,000 replies.
This also means that we get use to the bad things that happen to us.
Put more simply, we get use to the good things that happen to us.
That’s one reason why I (and, judging by the number of comments, you as well) enjoy reading Mandi Bierly’s Pop Watch Confessional columns.
They get at how important entertainment really is in our lives, and they open the emotional floodgates for readers by reminding you of things you’d forgotten you loved. When I first started looking into gratitude, I wasn’t expecting much. Sure, having more money can be pretty awesome, but because of hedonic adaptation we quickly get used to it and stop having as much fun and happiness as we did at first. This is why a five-minute a week gratitude journal can make us so much happier.