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Gratitude is truly an attitude for the ages — it’s been around since the dawn of time and anyone of any age, in any culture in the world, can benefit from gratitude. And what I have found is that the sooner you start, the sooner your life begins to shift for the better.

So imagine a child. One of the first words taught to them by their parents will be thank you. They will carry this simple phrase throughout their lives like we did. As long as they continue to embrace it and be thankful for the things given to them, their lives will continue to develop in a positive way. Imagine their shining faces and the sweetness of their voices.

Now think of the teenager. Suddenly their parents know nothing and the young adult knows everything! But do they? Are they still saying thank you for the kindnesses around them as they enjoy breakfast, pack their lunch and get off to high school? Do they feel thankful for their teachers and friends? When they do, their lives will run so much more smoothly. Maybe today is a day to remind them. And here’s another awesome benefit for teens and young adults who are struggling with pretty complicated lives: being grateful gives them something to dwell upon besides all that teenage angst.

Then think of all the busy adults! Yes, that would be you. Running from morning to night and letting devices run your life in maybe too many ways. Trying to stretch too little time and too little resources and still create the life you want. Here’s a novel concept: what about trying gratitude? Being thankful. Saying thanks. Slowing down to see the goodness instead of the chaos. We can all do it. Gratitude is truly an attitude for everyone and it works wonders.

Maybe you’re retired or in between jobs. Those things can be stressful too. Any kind of transition to a new stage in life brings with it worries you never saw coming. But hey, gratitude to the rescue. Be thankful for your previous career and your friends from work and try to stay connected socially to them. Let them know you appreciated how they helped you in the past and maybe you need some help now, finding a new job or a part-time activity to fill your days. Reach out. Be thankful. Love life.

These may sound like platitudes, simple words that are easier said than done. Maybe you think it really wouldn’t change anything. But I believe that kind thinking is holding you back. What if just for this one coming week you focus on sending out a thank you note each day to someone who helped you? Could you do that? It won’t take long and the act of picking up a pen and putting your heart into it gives that card a boost of power that you’ll hardly be able to believe. Imagine them feeling so good reading it!

I think by the end of the week, after just a handful of cards, you too will see that thankfulness is more than just two little words we teach our children or remind our teenagers about. It’s a way of life that can work for anyone, any age, anywhere! Send thanks, spread thanks, feel the goodness and grow your heart. It’s ageless. It’s timeless. You can start today.

And when you have a moment in the midst of your thankfulness, I’d really appreciate it if you might share your thoughts and experiences below. Have a great day spreading thanks in your corner of the world.

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