Lately I’ve been examining the past seven years since Mark died. I was trying to figure out what one thing has contributed the most to my happiness.

I considered; lunch with friends, going to my yoga class, playing tennis, time with family, nature, and many other things. Each one definitely contributed to my happiness.

However, there is one thing that I do, that has had the strongest and most consistent impact on my happiness and positive attitude. And that is this…

I am thankful for my life.

About three months before Mark died, our family started a tradition by accident. At our Thanksgiving dinner we all went around the table and said what we were thankful for that year.

The next day at dinner I thought how happy it made me to hear everyone come up with different things that they were thankful for. And I said to Mark, “Let’s say what we are thankful for today too.” And that was the beginning of the almost daily habit we now call “Thankfuls”.

Here is the magic of the habit…when I find myself getting grumpy, or upset or angry or sad my mind now stops itself from the downward spiral and searches to find something in my life that I’m thankful for. This has become an internal compass that moves my negative direction to a much more positive one, almost instantly.

Try it. Think of at least one thing you are thankful for every single day, start right now. If you can, share what you are thankful for with someone. Make this exercise a habit, or a tradition in your family or with friends.

I’ve learned how to be truly thankful for the little things in life by listening to my children. They say on a normal basis that they are grateful for the food on their plate, or that it is sunny outside, or that they played with a friend, or that we have a pet.

When you are thankful or grateful for something, ANYTHING in your life, it is almost impossible to stay in a bad mood. The feeling of being thankful takes over the space that the other emotion was holding. This is a powerful tool you can use at any time. With practice it can change your entire outlook on life.

Love and light,

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