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What is gratitude?

5 tricks to help cultivate it.

Thankful. Grateful. Blessed. I see this saying all over. But, knowing WHY gratitude is good is distinctly different from knowing WHAT gratitude is. And, probably the most important is HOW to be grateful.

Here are 5 tricks I use to ensure I cultivate gratitude:

  1. Gather around the table

For me, a kitchen table represents the love of family, friends and all the moments spent around it, playing games, eating, sharing conversations, laughing, learning and connecting. I remember having suppers as a family at the kitchen table sharing the thing we enjoyed most from each day or sometimes it was about the hardship of the day; either way we talked about it. It taught me that family is always there for you, and that you will have days with bad moments but what matters is how you deal with them. It taught me to fight for what’s right and stand up for myself.

  1. Radiate sunshine

When my husband and I come home from a long day of work and there are dishes stacked up, mountains of clean clothes that haven’t been put away, the kids are picking on each other, and I still must make supper, I am exhausted mentally and physically. It’s moments like these that I need to cultivate gratitude by appreciating my career, so I can provide food for my family who creates the dirty dishes; and praise God for the beautiful, bickering children He has blessed us with. Turn each negative into a positive and remember there are people praying for the things you are complaining about. You will feel more fulfilled when you let go of toxic emotions.

  1. Be present

Enjoy THIS moment. We’re often worried about the future or things we have no control over which leads to over thinking and not being able to focus on now. Our kids have the saying “Hocus, pocus, now just focus.” As a parent, I can tell when my kids are not focusing but they also can tell when I am not fully in the moment.

When my kids say, “Hocus, pocus, now just focus,” they are trying to say they need me to focus on them and to stop multitasking.

  1. Share a smile

Who inspires you and why? What do you admire about them? Call them, text them, email them, write them a letter, call attention to them on social media. I don’t care how you do it. Just share with them why you appreciate them. Keep those who inspire you close, because you will start to reflect those same traits that inspire you. At the least, you will bring a smile to their face. “If you have nothing else to give, share a smile.”

  1. imPERFECTly YOU

Love yourself for you – imperfections and all. We all have things we’d like to change about ourselves: our decisions, our looks or the way we handled certain instances. You need to feel good about you as a person before you can truly be grateful for the life you are living. Remember: “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a past.”