What takes only a few minutes of your time and could improve all areas of your life immensely? Is it a morning stretch, a talk with an old friend or even finding a penny heads-side up on the ground once in a blue moon? For me, it’s being grateful for those little things on a daily basis.

Since Nov. 1, I have been keeping a gratitude journal, which is where I log at least one thing I appreciate about my life each day. My ultimate goal with my gratitude journal is that I intend to write in it every day for a whole year to reap all the benefits of being truly thankful to have all that you do.

It is proven that having an “attitude of gratitude,” as some people refer to it, helps you in all aspects of life and your relationships with others. On even a statistical basis, being appreciative is shown to make us happier, healthier and even make more people like us, according to Forbes. Physical, psychological and emotional benefits are all-encompassing when you start feeling more appreciative of everything around you.

Often, when I think of being grateful in today’s world, I think of the daily appreciation posts that circle through social media throughout the month of November. For some, it may even be just Thanksgiving Day where we start being grateful. I often wonder why all this sudden gratitude has to come about for just one day or even one month. It seems like a waste to not spread this special kind of love all year-round.

I know it may sound cliché, but with the always shrinking amount of manners and the rising abundance of greed in today’s society, each person should make an effort to be more appreciative. In addition, teaching younger kids about this is important now more than ever because of our receding economy. Though holiday season is upon us, it should not diminish our need to keep our family and friends close and give thanks for their presence, not their presents.

So far in my journal, I’ve mostly reflected upon how grateful I am for my own family and gaining my wonderful in-laws since becoming a married woman this year. In losing my last living grandparent this past May, I have been extremely happy to receive my husband’s living grandparents as my own. He has given me an awesome family, whom I will be spending Thanksgiving Day with this year.

Looking forward, I am hoping to delve more into miniscule pieces of my life that I don’t think about and write how each of those things, though I might not think about them often, would be difficult to be without otherwise. Water, food and even the clean North Country air I breathe may fit into this section of my journal.

I encourage everyone to start one of these journals. Get one with an inspirational quote covering the front, a calming design or even just a cheap one at the dollar store. It’s actually the most fun thing ever to pick out your journal, trust me. Once you start writing, everything will come to you. Whether it’s today or Thanksgiving Day, challenging yourself to do this will not only make you feel better, but it will make you look better to others around you.

After the horrendous and unthinkable acts we have recently heard about in Paris, Beirut and Lebanon, It is truly imperative that we remember each day why we are here. It’s important we take a step back and remember life is precious, and we should never take any day of our lives for granted.

Email Anne McLean anne.mclean@cardinalpointsonline.com

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