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No matter where I find myself in the world, I’m always delighted to watch the changing of seasons. Here in Virginia the colors are some of the richest in the world- golds, reds, browns, burgundies. I’m fortunate to have a view high above the tree line, so I can see the colors extend for miles out my window. I love this time of year, for it reminds me of the beauty of change and the ever shifting nature of our world.

I also love that the focal holiday this month is all about saying thank you, about taking the time to be with the people we love intentionally. It is so easy in our busy lives to overlook our blessings and to take our already present abundance for granted. How wonderful to have a culturally sanctioned day to slow down, take stock, and say thank you.

Lately we have all been bombarded with the negative and frightening messages about the economy, and when you’re worrying about your job, your savings, and your future, it seems counterintuitive to say “thanks”. But is in these times of great fear and seeming scarcity that it becomes even more important to make a place for gratitude. This does not mean you ignore the knot in your stomach as your 401K statements come in the mail, but rather that you pause to focus attention on the health of your child in this moment. Because the fact is, no matter what happens in the outside world, you have complete control of how many blessings get counted in your lifetime. And the more gratitude you have, the more you have to be grateful for.

One of my favorite exercises to do, both with my clients and in my own life, is the Gratitude List. It is certainly no innovative technique, but it incredibly profound in its simplicity. A gratitude list is simply an account of all the things that are going right in your life, and can be anything and everything you can think of. It is a simple, quick, and fun exercise you can do every day. Find a quiet, private space, and close out all distractions. Silence your cell phone, turn off the tv, and tell your family you are indisposed. Now take out a piece of paper and divide it in half. On the top part of the page, write: The things I am grateful for: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

and so on- write as many as you like. Just open your imagination and let it flow.

Now on the bottom of the page, pick five or six from the list below and write out your whys. Explain briefly why you are grateful and how that thing enriches your life. This helps you connect your values to your gratitude, and to see deepen the scope of appreciation. For example, if one of the things you are grateful for is my job, the why might be because it provides me mental challenges, companionable colleagues, and an income to support my family. Now you:

I am grateful because 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) and so on.

Try this exercise every day for the next week, and see if your attention begin to gravitate toward the things that are going well. And since what you focus on expands, the more you see the positive, the more positive things come your way. Pretty soon, you may find that everyday is Thanksgiving.

Source by Jessica Abegg

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