April Jeppson: You’ll be happier if you have a thankful heart

Published 10:29 am Saturday, June 11, 2022

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

It’s not happy people who are thankful, but thankful people who are happy.

April Jeppson

There have been numerous studies done on the effects of gratitude and it has been found that being grateful can increase your happiness by up to 25%. I have done my own personal study on it, and I can testify that when I am thankful, I am indeed happier.  When I look for good in my life and take a moment to appreciate it, it makes the “bad” stuff, not seem so bad. It changes the lens with which I see the world around me. Therefore, in an effort to become more happy, I want to take a moment to publicly be thankful for a few things.

I grew up in a small town. Roughly 400 people with the school just a block away from my house. When we took swimming lessons in the summer, we’d meet at the school and ride a bus to the lake. I’d pack a lunch and my folks would give me money for a soda from the vending machine. I would alternate between an orange soda and a root beer. Every time I drink a Barq’s, it still reminds me of swimming lessons.

I was able to participate in any sport or activity I wanted to. I was busy from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the week and I loved it. I got to experience jazz band, photography, softball, the school play — I did not have to choose just one and my folks didn’t have to drive to Timbuktu for me to participate. I was able to learn which activities I liked and which ones I was good at. Being from a small town, I did not have to be amazing to play, because we always needed more people in the various clubs and teams.

I was raised by parents who love me and surrounded by extended family who were good examples for me. I was blessed to know my great aunts and uncles. My grandfather taught me how to play cribbage and my grandmother showed me how to snap green beans. My father taught me how to fish and my mother gave me her love of art. My older brother would wake me up early in the summer so we could play Wiffle ball. He would say, we need to hurry up and do chores so we can go play.

We do not get to choose who our parents are, or in what town we were raised. I was very fortunate for my upbringing and I don’t want to take these things for granted. My childhood was a long time ago, but I know that it has an impact not only on my life, but the lives of the children that I’m raising.

Every day there are things that I can be thankful for, however I don’t need to limit my gratitude to current happenings. Taking a moment to think about my youth has calmed my heart and changed my perspective a bit. I can tell you that I am already happier than when I was when I started writing this.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.