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I start my days off with gratitude. No matter how bad things seem in life there is always something to be grateful for. That thankfulness can change your whole outlook for the day. My youngest son and I sometime do a simple gratitude:

Thank you for the birds and the bees,
for the butterflies and the trees,
for the cool (or warm) morning breeze.
It’s gonna be a great day.

We feel better uttering this simple gratitude we made up. It really does help us on our way to have a great day.

The other place we practice gratitude is at dinner. Around the table we take our turns, even my 12-year old reluctantly muttering a gratitude or two. Sure he doesn’t like to do it at the moment, but he does it anyway, and I think that matters. My 8-year old son, Quinn, has so much to be thankful for that we don’t wait to eat our hot meal. His sweet gratitudes charm me, and I am grateful for him and his open heart.

Gratitude causes an internal shift by giving thanks for external things

Gratitude helps affirm that there is good in the world. Sure, there is bad too, but giving thanks allows us the opportunity to remember that there is a lot that is good, and that allows an internal shift in how we look at life. Gratitude also takes us outside of ourselves. It isn’t giving thanks for our own intelligence or our sense of style; it’s giving thanks for external things that have been given to us or things that are present for us to enjoy. It helps put life into perspective and leaves us happy with what we have and not wanting more and more and more.

An article from UMass Dartmouth stated that a research study found that “Daily discussion of gratitude results in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, energy, and sleep duration and quality. Grateful people also report lower levels of depression and stress, although they do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.”

I don’t know about you, but those are some very tangible reasons to practice gratitude. Why do I practice it? I feel better about my day, myself, my relationships, and it helps with my overall level of happiness. And guess what? I am grateful for that happiness – circle complete.

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