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“Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.”

 

I believe one of the greatest lessons in life we can learn is to be thankful for what we already have. But gratitude is something we have to work at—to prepare our hearts to be reflective and thankful, to provide room for contemplation of our good fortune.

Related: Begin With Gratitude and Watch the Miracles Flow Your Way

And if we want to be the kind of people who are characterized by thankfulness, by gratitude, then we must make sure that we focus on it at all times during the year.

Here are some words, some thoughts that are simple and practical to apply, that you can use right away in your quest for becoming more grateful:

1. Time

Set aside time regularly to be quiet, to reflect. We live in the fastest paced time. From the moment we awake to the moment we collapse into bed, we have the opportunity to go at full speed and never slow down. If we schedule time every day in which we can be quiet and reflect, we will free our hearts and minds up from the tyranny of the urgent and rushed.

2. Thought

Give thought to the many blessings that you have. Living in a consumer culture, most of us are fully aware of what we do not have—and how we absolutely must have “it.” But how often do we reflect upon that which we already have? Take some time each day and think of one or two things that you have that you may typically take for granted, and then take a moment and give thanks for those things. Make this part of your reflection time.

3. Generosity

Be generous toward those with less and not envious of those with more. We tend to look at others who may be wealthier than ourselves and think, I sure wish I had what he does.That kind of thinking breeds envy and jealousy rather than contentment. What can we do to break that cycle? I would suggest being generous to those who are less fortunate than yourself. Go to work at a food bank. And not just during the holidays, but on a regular basis during the year. That will remind you of how good you really have it.

4. Ask

Ask a friend what they are thankful for. You will be amazed at the answers you receive, and you will create meaningful bonds as you focus on this powerful question.

5. Acknowledge

Lastly, tell those you love how thankful you are for having them in your life. So many times we neglect to take the time to craft the words to express to those closest to us what their presence in our lives means to us. Take the opportunity to write them a note. Let them know what they mean to you, and in return you’ll begin to create the possibility of deeper, richer, more fulfilling relationships with those you love.

Related: 3 Ways to Exercise Your Gratitude Muscle

This post originally appeared on SUCCESS.com.

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