Five Ways to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
by Susie Michelle Cortright

Gratitude keeps us centered and wards off jealousy and 

Here are five little things we can do each day to 
nourish our sense of gratitude:

1. Choose your friends wisely. 
If you want to be more grateful, spend time with 
grateful people. Spend time with positive people to 
be more positive; joyful people to be more joyful; 
critical people to be more critical; irritated people 
to feel more irritated.

If you strive to be spiritually strong, supportive, 
empowering, intelligent, energetic, and positive, seek 
those characteristics in others.

Help your friends develop more positive traits by 
living those positive traits yourself. Know what kind 
of friends will help you nurture your soul, and set 
out to find some.

2. Help your friends cultivate gratitude. 
Before you say anything about a friend's situation, 
remember that everyone's situation is unique. I've 
seen it happen to myself and to my friends. They'll 
be perfectly happy until someone tells them they're 
being mistreated. Suddenly, they're upset.

Don't let your friends wield such power, and work to 
avoid wielding such power yourself.

Day by day, hour by hour, make a goal to stop 
complaining about your life. Make a pact with your 
friends to cut the complaints from your conversations.

3. Give the gift of gratitude to your children. 
One of the most lasting contributions we can make to 
our children is to help them understand that we don't 
deserve anything and everything just because we live 
and breathe.

Help your children to be satisfied with the simple 
things while giving them the innate power and ability 
to achieve whatever they want in living in 
such a way yourself.

4. Say "Thank You." 
Whom in your life do you appreciate? Let them know, 
whether it's your mom, your kids, your friends, your 
husband, your child's daycare provider or the helpful 
woman behind the cosmetics counter.

You don't have to spout some corny line. A heartfelt 
"thank you" often does the trick. Make it a habit and 
your attention will suddenly turn to all the things 
people do for you.

Write thank you notes regularly - not just after a 
gift exchange - and be mindful of all the ways you 
show your appreciation by the things you do in return.

Another idea: Spend 15 minutes writing a letter to 
your children. In this note, tell them how much you 
love them, why you're thankful for them, and all the 
ways they have enriched your life. This can be 
something you give them now or after they have grown.

5. Be mindful of the little things. 
Today, strive to be aware of all the aspects of your 
personal, professional, and family life for which you 
are thankful.

Take a few minutes today to appreciate nature. Go 
for a walk and notice only those things that are 
beautiful. Whether you focus on the stars above, a 
distant mountain range, or the cottonwood tree in 
your backyard, try to notice the details. Give thanks 
for the beauty that surrounds us.

Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of 
Simple Abundance, speak often of the importance of a 
Gratitude Journal, in which, at the end of each day, 
they record five things that they're grateful for.

Regardless of whether you record these items, spend 
some time each day to focus on the little things in 
your life that make each day special. Perhaps it's 
your child's toothless grin. A warm home. Delicious 
food enjoyed with family.

Together, let's work on focusing on what we have - 
not on what we don't have - and all the ways we can 
help one another have more gratitude for the gift of 

Copyright 2003 Susie Cortright

Susie Michelle Cortright is the author of several books for women and founder of the award-winning, a website designed to help busy women find balance. Visit today and get Susie's *free* course-by-email "6 Days to Less Stress" as well as the *free* pdf ebook, "Spa Recipes for All Seasons."

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