How satisfied are you with your life? Have you ever let fear or self-doubt keep you from doing what you really wanted? The holiday season is an excellent time to reflect by focusing on a “precious gift” that helps you feel happier and have more gratitude and energy in life.

A simple and profound book, “The Present,” by Spencer Johnson, is a parable about the importance of perspective and how it influences our attitude and level of satisfaction. In the book, a young man is tirelessly looking for (and failing to find) the most valuable gift a person can receive. The gift holds the key to personal happiness and lifelong success. Hint: it isn’t a genie in a bottle instantly granting three wishes. Curious, yet?

According to Johnson, the key is to focus on the present (appreciating what we have now), creating our own happiness, learning from the past, and being open to creating the future. When we are not present, we let the past and future hold our attention, contributing to our disempowerment, leading to a cycle of expectations, criticisms, and dissatisfaction–all of which impacts how we think, feel, and act. Being present is also tied to research showing a direct correlation between our overall well-being and our level of gratitude, hope, and zest (energy) in life. How?

Gratitude. A regular gratitude practice can boost happiness by 25%! Even practicing gratitude, a couple times a week, by listing 3-5 things you’re grateful for, is enough.

Hope. Consists of: A belief that your future can and will be better than your present, focusing on the present process because there are multiple paths towards your future. Accepting there will be obstacles in your life, facing them, and taking action is the path to future success.

Zest. Your energy level can be regularly replenished via the quality of your fundamentals: eating, sleeping, meditation, and movement. For example, according to Kelly McGonigal’s research, movement is how your brain and body encourage you to participate in life. When we get less than 5,649 daily steps, it induces feelings of anxiety/depression and decreases our satisfaction with life!

As you head into the season of giving, reflection, and new beginnings, ask yourself: “What am I grateful for?” “How hopeful am I?” “How is my energy level?” Lastly, “What can I adjust?” When you do, you’ll begin to discover the precious gift of the present.

Happy Holidays, y’all!!

(Original article – Gig Harbor Living Local Magazine, by Jennifer “Taz” Vazquez, Nov/Dec 2022)

Content provided by Women Belong member  Jennifer Vazquez