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Tips: Living a Life of Gratitude
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, April 2006

You know them! You’ve seen them! Those people who have light in their eyes, whom you cannot resist, who are ageless. What is their secret? No it is not a wrinkle cream. It is living a life of appreciation, gratitude and awareness of the beauty around them and within their lives.

Having an attitude of gratitude and appreciation contributes to keeping you young, vital and involved. A thank you, compliment or expression of praise given to someone else is a low price to pay to reap the priceless rewards of a youthful outlook. In the most difficult times, these "appreciators" have hope. Their positive perspective contributes to their resiliency and pulls them through any situation.

Now that it's SPRING (think new beginnings), there is opportunity for new growth which brings transformation and change. We see beauty all around us in nature as flowers bud and breezes get warmer. These are wonderful things to appreciate so how can you apply this feeling of gratitude to your own life? What can you appreciate more and while you are at it, demonstrate that appreciation so others know they are valued.

Beginning to notice and focus on what you may have taken for granted is a good way to SPRING into your own transformation. Here are a few more ways to increase your appreciation:

• Be Aware - Of everyone around you. Is there someone who touches you in a positive way? It doesn't matter how big or small the effect on your life, what matters is that this person contributes positively and will welcome the acknowledgement.

• Family Matters - Isn't it the way it goes? The people who support us the most and who are always there, are the ones who never get enough recognition. We tend to take our loved ones for granted and "assume" they know we care. Let people closest to you know how much you appreciate all they do for you and for others. Kids especially respond well to praise for tasks accomplished and chores well done rather than complaints aimed at the inevitable "messy" room or the TV left on again. And remember to tell them you love them as they are.

• Repetition is OK - Expressing your thanks is as important to you as for the other person. People always need to be appreciated. If they say, "Oh you don't have to keep thanking me," find the right way for this person to know you value them.

• Find Creative Ways to Say You Care - How we express our gratitude matters. If you usually say it, try a hand written note next time. Surprise them with the right card or their favorite flowers to emphasize your feelings. Spending time enjoying each other's company (especially when everyone's so busy) is another good way to demonstrate your gratitude for having this person in your life.

• Also Give Thanks for Every Breathe - Life is a gift and that's why the here and now is called the PRESENT. We should never let a sunny day, sandy beach, or awe inspiring mountaintop go unoticed. Let nature and all it has to offer inspire your grateful attitude. Allow every day you are here on this planet be an amazement and offer up your thanks.

If you have a story or a unique way in which you express gratefulness, let me know. I'd love to share your thoughts with others. Jot me an email at

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