5 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
If you strive to be spiritually strong, supportive, empowering,
intelligent, energetic, and positive, seek those characteristics
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 life...by 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 life.
Here are a few of my favorite books to help you do so.
Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach
The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude
Daily Riches: A Journal of Gratitude and Awareness
@ Susie Michelle Cortright is the author of several
books for women
and founder of the award-winning Momscape.com, a website designed
to help busy women find balance. Visit
and get Susie's *free* course-by-email "6 Days to Less Stress."