I believe in counting blessings. Every day, I try to think of at least five things that I’m grateful for or that I simply appreciate. In many ways, 2010 has been a trying year, and keeping an eye on what’s good in my life has helped me get through some difficult times.
What I love about Thanksgiving is that it recognizes the importance of taking time to appreciate. The things at the top of my list that come to mind easily—family, health, friends—are important. That’s why I think of them first. But instead of just thinking, “I’m thankful for my family,” for example, I try to drill down into the specific things that make me so glad to have these people in my life: my husband’s intelligence, kindness, and humor; my daughter’s thoughtfulness and self-sufficiency; my parents’ generosity and love. It’s a lot more meaningful than just mumbling, “Family” before I reach for the turkey.
And even though the items at the top of my appreciation list are those that mean the most to me, I take a few minutes to keep looking for other, less obvious things to appreciate. Smaller things, such as the route I take for my favorite walk, a smile from a neighbor, or a book that gave me pleasure, deepen and enrich my life, and it feels good to give thanks for them.
The more I focus on the things I appreciate, the more good things show up in my life. It makes sense. When you’re actively looking for things to feel good about, you find them. And when you notice the good things, life seems better.