Gratitude keeps us centered and wards off jealousy and negativity.
Here are five little things we can do each day to nourish our sense of gratitude:
1. Choose your friends wisely.
If you strive to be spiritually strong, supportive, empowering, intelligent, energetic, and positive, seek those characteristics in others.
Help your friends develop more positive traits by living those positive traits yourself. Know what kind of friends will help you nurture your soul, and set out to find some.
2. Help your friends cultivate gratitude.
Before you say anything about a friend's situation, remember that everyone's situation is unique. I've seen it happen to myself and to my friends. They'll be perfectly happy until someone tells them they're being mistreated. Suddenly, they're upset.
Don't let your friends wield such power, and work to avoid wielding such power yourself.
Day by day, hour by hour, make a goal to stop complaining about your life. Make a pact with your friends to cut the complaints from your conversations.
3. Give the gift of gratitude to your children.
Help your children to be satisfied with the simple things while giving them the innate power and ability to achieve whatever they want in life...by living in such a way yourself.
4. Say "Thank You."
Whom in your life do you appreciate? Let them know, whether it's your mom, your kids, your friends, your husband, your child's daycare provider or the helpful woman behind the cosmetics counter.
A heartfelt "thank you" often does the trick. Make it a habit and your attention will suddenly turn to all the things people do for you.
Also, write thank you notes regularly - not just after a gift exchange - and be mindful of all the ways you show your appreciation by the things you do in return.
Another idea: Spend 15 minutes writing a letter to your children. In this note, tell them how much you love them, why you're thankful for them, and all the ways they have enriched your life. This can be something you give them now or after they have grown.
5. Be mindful of the little things.
Today, strive to be aware of all the aspects of your personal, professional, and family life for which you are thankful.
Take a few minutes today to appreciate nature. Go for a walk and
notice only those things that are beautiful. Whether you focus on
the stars above, a distant mountain range, or the cottonwood tree
in your backyard, try to notice the details. Give thanks for the beauty that surrounds us.
Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance,
speak often of the importance of a Gratitude Journal, in which, at
the end of each day, you record at least five
things you're grateful for.
Regardless of whether you write down these items, spend some time each day to focus on the little things in your life that make each day special. Perhaps it's your child's toothless grin. A warm home. Delicious food enjoyed with family.
Together, let's work on focusing on what we have - not on what we don't have - and all the ways we can help one another have more gratitude for the gift of life.
Here are a few of my favorite books to help you do so.
Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach
The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude
Daily Riches: A Journal of Gratitude and Awareness
Copyright© 2003 Susie Cortright
Susie Michelle Cortright is the author of several books for women and founder of the award-winning Momscape.com, a website designed to help busy women find balance. Visit http://www.momscape.com today and get Susie's *free* course-by-email "6 Days to Less Stress."