I had breakfast earlier this summer with a friend of mine.  Her life is busy with a new job, a husband who owns his own small business and two young children whose days are filled with activities.

We’ve all been there.

Craziness ensues and you’re left begging for sleep, but I couldn’t get over how happy she was despite her life being filled to the brim with no time left for herself.

That’s when she told me her secret.

Every morning and every evening, she spent ten minutes thinking about reasons she had to be thankful.

Thankful for health.

Family.

Friends.

A job she loved.

Her home.

And, more.

My friend challenged me this summer to do the same thing – be thankful every day for a designated time and I’m amazed how it has reframed my thinking each morning.

Instead of getting drowned in thoughts of everything I need to do for the day, I arrive at work fresh and ready to get the day started.  I have a glass half full outlook and, in short, I’m happier.

And, it’s also allowed me to create opportunities for thankfulness even in the most difficult of times.

Do you know someone who never smiles? Make it your goal to get a smile out of them; it may take time but it will be worth it.

Think about people about who you may not see eye to eye with.  What have you learned from that experience? Did you become a better person? How would you have handle the situation differently?  Even negative forces can be positive and worthy of thankfulness.

Or have you or a family member been stricken with illness? Be thankful for the time you’ve had with them and the joy you received from that relationship.

Is your commute long and treacherous?  Take that as a gift of a time.  Call your mom or a friend. Think about your day and what you accomplished. Plan a date night with your significant other.

It may sound like a corny exercise, but it’s worth it.