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Unlocking Happiness: A Journey through Gratitude and Mindfulness


In a world that often emphasizes the pursuit of success, wealth, and tangible achievements, it is easy to overlook the simpler, more intrinsic aspects of life that contribute significantly to our overall well-being and happiness. Di Tran, a fervent advocate for mindfulness and gratitude, presents a practical solution to attain happiness: journaling gratitude for small achievements of the day, and acknowledging the first three thoughts that come to mind. In this article, we delve into the profound impact of this practice, supported by statistical studies and references to esteemed authors and books.

The Power of Gratitude

Gratitude, as defined by Robert A. Emmons in his book “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” is a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation for the positive aspects of life. Emmons’ extensive research demonstrates that regularly expressing gratitude leads to increased levels of happiness, optimism, and life satisfaction. Furthermore, individuals who maintain a gratitude journal report feeling better about their lives as a whole and experience reduced symptoms of depression.

Journaling Small Achievements

Di Tran emphasizes the importance of recognizing and appreciating small achievements throughout the day. This practice aligns with the principles laid out by Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer in their book “The Progress Principle,” where they highlight the significance of celebrating small wins. Amabile and Kramer’s research reveals that acknowledging even minor progress enhances one’s work life, contributes to higher levels of creativity, and fosters overall well-being.

The First Three Thoughts

Starting the day with a positive mindset sets the tone for the rest of the day. Tran encourages individuals to journal the first three thoughts that come to mind each morning. This practice, supported by Shawn Achor in his book “The Happiness Advantage,” emphasizes the role of a positive mindset in achieving success and happiness. Achor’s research suggests that a positive brain is 31% more productive than a brain that is negative, neutral, or stressed. By channeling our thoughts toward gratitude and positivity, we pave the way for enhanced performance and a happier life.

Personal Testimony and Application

Di Tran’s personal journey and the practice of gratitude journaling are evident in her heartfelt expressions of thanks, such as “Thank you, God, for I gave my all today,” and “Thank you, God, for my blessed family that is sleeping in peaceful good night now.” These expressions reflect a deep sense of appreciation for life’s blessings, big and small. By incorporating this practice into our daily routine, we too can experience a shift in our mindset and an increase in our overall happiness.


The practice of journaling gratitude for small achievements and acknowledging the first three thoughts of the day presents a practical and effective solution to attaining happiness. Backed by statistical studies and the works of renowned authors, this practice proves to be a powerful tool in fostering positivity, well-being, and a fulfilled life. Let us embrace this journey of gratitude and mindfulness, as we unlock the doors to a happier, more content life.

Drop the FEAR and Focus on the FAITH Drop the ME and focus on the OTHERS Guiding Lights: A Journey of Courage, Compassion and Faith Leadership Development Self-Improve Small Businesses Workforce Development

Appreciating Life: A Pathway to Abundance

Life’s true value often remains hidden until we take a moment to pause and give thanks for the mere fact of being alive. This fundamental gratitude towards existence can become a wellspring of inspiration and value that overflows into all areas of life.

1. A Heart of Gratitude

Gratitude is more than a fleeting emotion; it’s a way of life. Research by Emmons and McCullough (2003) demonstrates that individuals who consistently express gratitude experience greater emotional well-being and physical health.^(1^)

In the words of poet Mary Oliver, “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” By giving thanks for the simple act of being alive, we can find profound meaning and purpose.

2. Adding Value to Life

When we value life, we naturally seek to enrich it, not just for ourselves but for others as well. The concept of servant leadership, a philosophy championed by Robert K. Greenleaf, illustrates how the desire to serve can create value for oneself and the community.^(2^)

3. Receiving Value in Abundance

The belief that giving thanks and adding value to life will lead to receiving value in abundance is deeply rooted in various cultural, philosophical, and spiritual traditions. The Law of Attraction, for example, posits that like attracts like. By fostering a positive attitude and acting with intention, one can attract positive experiences and abundance.^(3^)

4. Real-Life Inspirations

  • Nick Vujicic, born without arms or legs, has turned his life’s challenges into a beacon of hope for millions. His attitude of gratitude and determination to add value to others’ lives is an inspirational testament to the power of perspective.^(4^)
  • Oprah Winfrey’s well-known practice of keeping a gratitude journal emphasizes the importance of daily recognition of life’s blessings. Her success is often attributed to her positive attitude and desire to enrich others’ lives.^(5^)


The essence of life is not merely in existing but in living with purpose, gratitude, and intention. By embracing a grateful heart, valuing life, and contributing positively to others, we can create a fulfilling existence and open ourselves to receiving value in abundance.

By understanding and applying these principles, we may find that life is not just something to endure but a beautiful gift to treasure and share.