Have you ever seen one of those champagne fountains where the tiny glasses are stacked on top of each other in a pyramid? As the top glass is filled with champagne, the bubbly liquid begins to overflow and fill the glasses beneath it.

I have started thinking about gratitude in the same way.

When I give thanks for good things in my life, I am filled to overflowing. Love and gratitude spill over into the lives around me.

Gratitude changes everything.

A few months ago, I was sitting in my office, stressing out about life. My heart was racing, my stomach felt hollow, and I couldn’t understand why.

I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and forced myself to sit in the quiet.

As my mind’s eye zoomed out from the situation, I was struck with the reality that I had been chasing things and influence and money. I was worried about everything and grateful for nothing.

Overflowing with gratitude

I realized I had replaced my small champagne glass with a bottomless bucket, one that could never be full. Instead of pouring my blessings out on others, I had turned the focus entirely in on myself in a way that could never bring joy or satisfaction.

As my tiny glass was filling to the brim with love, family, and soul-filling work, I had traded it in for a bigger cup. I was super-sizing my way through a never-enough culture until I felt as hollow as the bucket I was trying to fill.

So I put away the bucket, and I started naming everything I was grateful for. With each whisper of gratitude, the hollow feeling started to go away. My body filled with warmth and tears pooled in my eyes as I quickly became overwhelmed.

Who am I to deserve such a full life?

My family noticed a change in me that day as my glass began to overflow. For the first time in a long time, I was able to fill them up with an overabundance of joy and love.

These days, when I feel myself getting stuck in the stress and the hollow, I remember to downsize my cup, whisper thanks for the good things in life, and return to a place of gratitude.