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Five Ways to Renew Your Life with Gratitude

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday for a number of reasons. It’s a holiday celebrated by all Americans. A day that brings friends and family together. A time to prepare and eat some of my favorite foods. And most importantly, it’s a reminder to appreciate and be grateful for all the abundance we have. No matter what our circumstances may be at this moment, whether we’re far from home, have medical issues or out of work, every one of us has much to be thankful for.

This year I am thankful for spending the holiday with my brothers in the Chicago area. I am flying home from Paris in the morning and will arrive at the family homestead in time for dinner. My brother doesn’t like help in the kitchen, so it works out fine.

I’m sure you’ll be thinking about what you’re grateful for this holiday. But if you need a quick reminder of life’s gifts, just imagine waking up tomorrow without one or more of the things we take for granted each day — the air we breathe, our senses, our family, our friends or the roof over our head.

We can all cultivate an attitude of gratitude, not just on this special occasion, but by giving thanks each and every day. Practicing gratitude is a healthy habit and one of the best tools for personal renewal.

Research has proven that expressing gratitude can make us feel better both physically and emotionally. I know from my own experience that adding a little Thanksgiving to my day has led to greater peace, joy and happiness. Here’s five ways that expressing gratitude has helped me.

Expressing gratitude puts me in the moment.

Whenever I find myself worried about the future, stressing out about past events and frustrated about the unknowns I can’t control, I stop and write down ten things I’m grateful for — not in the past or in the future, but what I am thankful for right now. This list varies from day to day. Sometimes it’s as simple as appreciating the beautiful hydrangea outside my office window, the setting sun that glistens through the trees or that I haven’t gotten sick in almost two years. Writing that list is a reminder to stay present and enjoy the richness of the moment.

Being thankful brings a sense of perspective.

I think about how lucky I am to be living in this beautiful country of opportunity, safeguards and freedom. Yes, I have bills to pay; I could be making more money; I could be thinner. But when I look at all that I have in my life — family, friends, travel, work I love, a home, a garden, a neighborhood — that’s a pretty rich life.

Voicing gratitude is better than a Valium.

Do you ever have trouble falling asleep because your mind is churning out a replay of the day’s stressful events, all the thing that didn’t go right and all the things you should have done differently? This is when I remind myself to give thanks. As I lie in bed, I take a deep breath and mentally go through my list of ten things I’m grateful for at that moment. It helps me clearly see and appreciate my world and to know that everything in this moment is as it should be, and I am safe.

Giving thanks brings greater abundance.

I believe that whatever you put your attention on will multiply in your life. So why not focus on abundance rather than lack? When I appreciate what is truly important in my life, I realize that my life is abundant in all the things that money can’t buy, like inner peace, love, serenity, happiness and more. That is the abundance I am grateful for and wish to attract more of into my life — along with plenty of money.

Feeling grateful for everything in my life connects me with Spirit, the Universe, God, our Source or whatever you want to call It.

Almost every experience, no matter how difficult, is an opportunity to learn and grow. The people who aggravate me are there to teach me something about myself. In the toughest of times — when I was being sued and when I was so sick — I was actually grateful to the Universe for manifesting my worst fears, because I was able to face them with love and learned that I was stronger than I thought. Be thankful for life’s lessons and for the opportunity to change and grow.

Whether you’ll be working this Thursday, with friends, with family or even enjoying a quiet day alone, take time to give thanks for all the abundance in your life. I am grateful for your readership.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Hi, I’m Lori Cronwell. As a writer and frequent traveler, I admire the values most Europeans embrace: choosing quality over quantity; residing in smaller, more sustainable homes; working less and spending more time with friends and family.

Those values were key in my decision to drastically downsize to a 700 sq. ft. accessory dwelling unit (ADU) with the goal of creating a simpler, more sumptuous life with time for travel.

Slow travel, that is. Spending more time in one place — even if it’s just a week. You'll not only spend less, you'll discover a deeper and more meaningful travel experience.

Please subscribe below and join me on a journey to find affordable ways to explore Europe in the slow lane and to live a more European lifestyle every day of our lives.

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