As I contemplated writing our blog for Thanksgiving week, I was reminded of all the things I’m grateful for that I think are worth mentioning because they likely resonate with many of you:

  • My loving husband and children, family and friends
  • My colleagues and clients and the privilege of making a difference in the work I get to do every day
  • Our wonderful country and all the men and women who selflessly protect us and their families who support them
  • My God and the freedom to worship and support others’ faiths, too
  • A healthy body that supports me in all that I am up to and the health of my family and friends

In addition to these many blessings, I also reflected on the gift of gratitude. I am blessed with a grateful spirit and find joy and thanksgiving daily - in my son’s toothless smile, a breakthrough in partner relationships with my clients, or the snowflakes falling outside my window. I also realize, though, that gratitude is a choice and that I choose to be thankful for something every day.

Yes, some days can be more challenging to find my gratitude, but those are the days that stopping to acknowledge all that I have makes the biggest difference. Choosing to be grateful helps me get centered and gives me the energy and the power to face whatever trial might be in front of me. Each of us can choose at any time to be grateful for the gifts in our lives, from the small or mundane to the extraordinary miracles.

Gratitude is also contagious. People want to be around other people that are uplifting, positive and appreciative – I know I do! Life is too short to get mired in the negativity or drama about the road bumps and curve balls life places in our path. Living a life of daily gratitude is a function of my attitude, especially during times of trial. During those times, I sometimes have to consciously generate something for which I’m thankful, such as the relationship with my friend who is battling cancer when I want to be mad about her sickness. Or the blessing of an abundance of work when I’m tired and want to rest. Doing so reminds me that life is good and while sometimes it’s hard – or unfair, uncertain, and scary – I have so many blessings to help get me through those times. And, I want those around me to be positive and hopeful when I forget or can’t generate it for myself because their attitude rubs off on me. Being grateful helps me do that for others, too, when they need it.

Gratitude is a choice and it is contagious. I think it’s awesome that our country recognizes this and values gratitude so much that we created a national holiday for Thanksgiving. For me, however, thanksgiving is more than an annual holiday; it’s a way of living every day.

During this holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, I invite you to a thirty-five day challenge to reflect on one thing for which you are grateful each day. A bonus opportunity would be to share what you are grateful for with someone else! If you’ve wanted to bring more gratitude in to your life, this will help you build the habit and set you up for a year of thanksgiving in 2015! If you already live a life of gratitude, taking on the bonus challenge and sharing your gratitude with someone else will be contagious and surround you with more people in your life that share your attitude of gratitude.

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for the gift of gratitude. And, I’m grateful for each of you and wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!