With the leaves changing and holidays rapidly approaching, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and bogged down with a “to do” list. Between travel, family coming into town, gluttonous food and gift giving, the stress of the holidays hits us all in a different way.

Of course these all seem silly and insignificant with the current state of the world – famine, war, hurricanes and hateful acts fill the news and are a slap back to the reality that life is pretty good and we all have a lot to be thankful for.

Feeling true gratitude is a choice. It can be a difficult choice in this world, however, the commitment to feeling gratitude will enhance your appreciation for the blessings you have. As humans, we are not necessarily programmed to feel gratitude. We must make a conscious effort to recognize our blessings and see how your world changes by practicing the art of gratitude.

Start by creating a list. Include anything and EVERYTHING that enhances your life. Spirituality, faith health, exercise, a spouse, music, movies, books, and your work (if it truly fulfills your life) are all initial ideas.

Try identifying ten things to start. Get creative and choose a list that inspires you and truly enhances your life. You can write a new gratitude list every day or use the same list to practice for a time period. This may seem daunting at first, but think of the basics listed above and expand from there.

Remember, there is always something to be grateful for. Whether you are sick, got in an argument with a loved one, got overloaded with work, got cut off by someone in traffic or are just feeling a bit blue, there is always something to be grateful for. Now is the time to remember that list and embrace it to help you get through your day/ week/ month.

Gratitude is all around you – even in the people you surround yourself with. Have you heard of the saying, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future”? It is true! Surround yourself with positive, grateful people and you will find yourself becoming more and more grateful.

Gratitude is a mindset. It will take time. Embracing this new mindset will take practice – just like your spirituality and faith. Say your gratitude list out loud to yourself every day. Practice recognizing your thankfulness.

Positivity is contagious. You will find that the more your practice gratitude the more you will recognize benefits in your life and influence others as well. Gratitude can also help squelch negative feelings and a negative mindset. By replacing negative thoughts with acts and thoughts of gratitude, you can begin to change your overall mindset.

Gratitude can lead to a more optimistic outlook on life and a more enjoyable life. Your positive outlook and gratitude begin to change your perception on the world – and other people begin to notice the more positive you. Think about it – do you want to be surrounded by people who complain about everything in their lives or by people who point out the positive aspects in their lives?

With all of the gratitude you feel and exude, you must remember to share it! Share your story on finding gratitude, direct friends and family to this article or share the idea of a list. The more gratitude people feel, the better the world can be around us.