Tips for making your life more rich and positive.

• Enjoy the beauty, richness, love, and opportunities that already exist in your life.

• Express appreciation to people who do or give nice things to you. (Even if you receive a gift you don’t particularly like, you can still acknowledge the positive qualities of the gift and the thoughtfulness of the giver.)

• Reframe painful or disappointing events as opportunities for growth and learning. Deliberately look for silver linings!

• Become aware of how much of your thoughts and conversation are devoted to complaints, how much of your focus is on what is lacking in your life.

• Be an example of happiness, abundance, and appreciation. Watch out for tendencies to minimize or apologize for the good in your life, either to protect someone less fortunate or out of fear of attracting misfortune. Living small serves no one.

• If you don’t already have one, start a personal gratitude journal. End your day writing down at least three things you feel grateful for.

• Create a family gratitude journal. Encourage everyone in the family to write, draw, or dictate at least one contribution a week. (If weekly participation is impractical at this point, try this activity on birthdays or holidays, or even once a year, perhaps during the week before Thanksgiving or New Year’s.)

• Let the people you care about know that you are grateful to have them in your lives—and why!

A note of caution:

Gratitude is a very personal experience. Watch the tendency to tell others what they should feel grateful for. (Having much to be thankful for does not diminish the reality of sadness or disappointment, or the need to feel those feelings from time to time.)

Also, remember that the idea of gratitude may be difficult for children, especially young children, to appreciate, demonstrate, or even understand. Rather than punish ingratitude, help your children to learn behaviors that express gratitude, and to develop this value as they grow.

Excerpted and adapted from The Parent’s Little Book of Lists: Do’s & Don’ts of Effective Parenting by Dr. Jane Bluestein, © 2021, Father Sky Publishing, Albuquerque, NM

© 1997, 2012, Dr. Jane Bluestein

Related Links:

15 Ways to Live Optimistically
36 Things You can Do to Feel Great
Dimensions of Gratitude

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3 thoughts on “8 Ways to Live in Gratitude

  1. Thank you, my dear Janie! I am grateful for your friendship.

  2. JANE, I’m really happy to hear from you and read what great things you are doing for the world! I’m totally in accord with your suggestions and have a routine of walking from my bedroom to the kitchen (100 steps) in the morning reviewing the many things I’m grateful for. I have been quite ill for the last five years yet there is still so much I have to be thankful for. I usually start with my my husband of 34 years, my life of 79 years, then come our family, friends, dogs, home, city, and country. My housekeeper has been in a deep depression and I described my morning routine to her (in Spanish) she said she would do it too! Today she said she’s feeling so much better and helping her 300 pound son to follow her lead! Keep up your wonderful work, Jane. You are assisting so many people! If any of your travels bring you to California, you have to visit Santa Barbara. It is so beautiful with its location between the mountains and and Pacific Ocean. We have a guest bedroom with clean sheets, private bath and a mountain view. I send you Light, Love, and Laughter along with my appreciation for being on your email list! Betty Hatch

    1. Thank you, Betty. I think it’s so easy to lose our focus when we are exposed to so much negativity and pain in the world. It took me a long time to learn that I could experience gratitude in spite of it all, and when I can remember to do so, my mental and physical health are better for it (and I am of far better use to the world). I always think of you as one of the most positive and upbeat people I know. Let’s talk. Soon. I’d love to see you again. P.S. You’ll never have to twist my arm to get me to your part of the world.

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