Yesterday we discussed why it may be difficult to express your gratitude. Today let’s talk about how to get started in your new direction. You will need to become aware yourself of what you are thankful for before you can begin to acknowledge the part others play.

Begin to consciously notice what brings you joy in life. Awareness is the first step toward creating change. Set aside time for yourself to participate in the process of experiencing and acknowledging your gratitude.

Count your blessings. Each evening, note three things that happened during the day for which you are thankful. Be specific as you describe what happened to you. It could be a loving conversation with your partner, a thank you from your teenage daughter, a view of a magnificent sunset.

Re-live and savor each of these events. Spend some time re-creating in your mind the joy of the experience. You will feel your body becoming more relaxed, your emotions more positive and your head more focused. The pleasures of life are not only in present experience but also in remembering happy times.

Think about what you did to open yourself up to these moments. Then decide to direct your actions to include more of these delights in your life. The recognition of your own personal power will strengthen your belief in yourself as well as your willingness to consider the part others play in your happiness.

Recognize why this piece of good fortune came your way. It will help you identify the people you’re grateful to have in your life. You can then seek them out and thank them for improving your world.

When you follow these tips, you will find that expressing gratitude not only makes those around you feel better, but it also benefits you and your mood. When you focus on what you are grateful for, you reap a wide range of benefits. These include sounder sleep, enhanced self-esteem, increased levels of contentment and improved connections with the world around you. Not a bad outcome – especially for a Sandwiched Boomer caught in the midst of parents growing older and children growing up.

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