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Gratitude Will Improve A Retiree's Outlook On Life

Dec 1, 2007
Thanksgiving week is a perfect time to think about gratitude and to be thankful for the people and the events that have made our lives what they are. But gratitude, practiced daily - all year through - will improve anyone's outlook on life. When we stop dwelling upon things in our lives that are not perfect or things we'd like to be different, our entire outlook on life changes. Gratitude makes each day better.

There was a wonderful song in one of the great old holiday movies. The refrain included this line: "when I'm worried and cannot sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, and I fall asleep counting my blessings." It is very easy to be grateful when everything is going well. Many of us find it very difficult to be grateful when we are facing challenges or struggles in life. But gratitude helps us see each day differently.

Because Thanksgiving encourages us to be grateful, this is an ideal time to start a habit of gratitude. Here are five areas of life in which we should all be able to find reasons for gratitude.

1.Family. Our families are probably the most important group of people in our lives. Our families may seem perfect, or they may seem far from perfect. But all of us are the individuals we have become, at least in part, because of the influence of our families. If you think about it, you will be able to find something about your family - even being taught a difficult lesson - that inspires some measure of gratitude.

2.Friends. Our friends bring us joy. Friends also challenge us to be the very best we can be. One of the most wonderful things about friendship is that our friends choose to be part of our lives. Think about your friends and the richness they bring to your life. You are sure to find a few reasons to be grateful.

3.Opportunities. Life brings us many opportunities. Most of us are quick to act on opportunities and make the most of them. But it is very easy to become so wrapped up in the activity that we forget to stop and be grateful for the opportunities that have come our way and that continue to come our way. Think about your opportunities.

4.Challenges. Life also brings each of us challenges. Whether we overcome challenges, cope with challenges, or find ourselves defeated by challenges, our lives and our personalities are shaped by them. Gratitude for the challenges of life is difficult. It is easier, however, if we begin with challenges of time past. Think about those events and what you learned from them or how you grew as a result of them. Then, after a little practice, try to find gratitude for the challenges of the moment and try to think about what you will learn from them. The dark cloud might have a silver lining if you look for it.

5.Life. Daily life can and should fill us with wonder and gratitude if we can learn to open ourselves to it. When we stop to think and pay attention to the world around us and to the people we encounter, there are many things to be thankful for in each new day. Try living one day with your eyes and ears - and your heart - open to the world around you. I can almost guarantee you will find sources of gratitude.

I hope this Thanksgiving season will be the beginning of a new life in gratitude for every retiree. It is easy to get bogged down in the things that are not perfect. But cultivating gratitude for each day and for the events and the surroundings of each day can help us become happy just the way we are.
About the Author
Dr. Cynthia Barnett is a Retirement Lifestyle Expert. Through her coaching, keynotes, workshops and seminars she inspires people to fire up their lives to enjoy happier, more satisfying and more meaningful lives. To learn more, visit http://www.fireupretirement.com .
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