It sounds cliché, but grateful people are happy people. Yet gratitude requires a daily choice, doesn't it? It's so much easier to see what we don't have than to consider all we have. So today I'm giving five tips to help you win the battle.
#1. Here's a fun exercise you can do online. Log on to www.globalrichlist.com and key in your annual income to see where you fall in the world's richest ranking. I was in the top 12 percent. Look at the line-up of people to see where you show up on the scale. Sobering, isn't it? And something to be thankful for.
#2. Choose someone who has been a positive influence in your life and tell them so. Not good with words? That's why God invented Hallmark. There's sure to be a card on a store shelf that says it perfectly for you, if you take the time to look. Or take your person to lunch, a game, or a movie. Paint them a picture. Use your imagination, but find a way to express your gratitude.
#3.Pick the thing that's bugging you most right now. Frustrations at work? With a family member? Your health? Now answer two questions: in what ways could this be much worse? What can I learn from this difficulty? Then be thankful that it is not worse, and be grateful for the opportunity to learn something from it.
#4. Ask yourself: who is doing something good for someone I love? A nurse at the manor? Your child's teacher, youth pastor, or coach? The neighbour collecting for Heart and Stroke Foundation? Tell that person "thank you" for what they're doing to benefit your loved one. It will mean more than you can imagine.
#5. Write down 99 things you're grateful for today. Think of it as your own little "Book of Awesome." Here are mine, in no particular order: Coffee with hazelnut creamer. Hot showers. Coconut-scented bath products. Toothpaste. Floss. My computer. This blog. Sunshine. Warm slippers. Toast. Canada. Chocolate. Sight. Literacy. Music. Roast beef. Fresh tomatoes. Prayer. Eye glasses. Cork boards. Kleenex. A garage. A garage door opener. Furnaces. Washing machines. The Bible. Family. Blue jeans. Curbside garbage and recycling pick-up. Crescent Lake. Candles. Wayne the Squirrel. Pickles. House plants that don't die. Doctors who call me. Cameras. Indoor plumbing. My job. Baby animals. Ball point pens. Friends. My piano. My pillow. The flip side of my pillow. An email from my daughter. Cinnamon-Apple tea. Flannel sheets. Grocery stores. Inter-generational dancing. The word "shenanigan." Tweezers. Duct tape. Balki and Larry's dance of joy. Hair dye. That little kid on the internet who conducts orchestras. Electric blankets. Hugs. Dishwashers. People who snort when they laugh. Skin. Q-tips. Fuzzy socks. The laughter of children. Laminate flooring. Pretty scarves. Good teeth. Daisies. My co-workers. The delete key. Free parking. Gravity. Coupons. Peaches. My church. Birthdays. Thrift shops. Shingles. Live theatre. My car. Rocking chairs. Free draws. Sleep. Police officers. Tylenol. Mountains. Smiles. Tears. My satin blouse. Distance education. Brakes. Breaks. Cookbooks. Storage space. Toilet brushes. Paved streets. Electric lights. Toys. Self-sticking envelopes. God's unstoppable love.