I discovered it back in 2001.

I had given birth to my fourth child and took her home just days after the 9–11 New York terrorist attacks here in the United States. I think the shock of the event had made my sweet bundle even more precious to me. I also decided to treat myself to a housekeeper for the first year to help me with my daily chores. I was feeling very grateful.

It wasn’t until one very strong thought got stuck in my mind–for a whole year–that my gratitude soared to levels of intense bliss.

I had heard on the news that North Korea was suffering from an intense drought, and their people were reported to eating grass and acorns for sustenance. Their stomaches were distraught and there was no immediate fix in sight due to its closed political borders. This image became very clear in my mind and the contrast between them and my life was intense. They are humans just like me and were suffering beyond compare. I felt humbled, and certainly extremely grateful for my circumstances, and woke up everyday feeling completely blissed out that I was in the United States, with a healthy baby, happy family, food, money, and a housekeeper, to boot. Phew.

This feeling lasted a whole year (until I had to give up the housekeeper and do my own chores) and high levels of it continue to this day. I am constantly comparing my life to those less fortunate, and it keeps my mood positive and constant. Always. Well, most days. (Don’t give me gluten–I get a little grumpy and sick.)

Here’s five simple steps to discover the power of gratitude yourself:

  1. Think of someone who is suffering. Even if you are suffering yourself, there is ALWAYS someone suffering more than you right now. Don’t believe me? Just turn on the news and watch the horrible tragedies that happen everyday in our world. They are out there.
  2. If you can’t find someone who is suffering more than you are, ask yourself WHY not? I am not trying to be disrespectful, but I have found that some people (including myself at one time) are addicted to feeling bad. If this is you, please do the planet a favor and get some help with this. If you are fortunate enough to be reading this right now, you have it better than many people already.
  3. Give thanks for your blessings. You have some, I know you do. The funny thing about blessings is they feel great when you first get them, and then the feeling fades. Remember when you got that thing you wanted? Didn’t it feel good? Weren’t you so happy? Maybe blissed out? What happened? Why doesn’t that make you feel as happy anymore?
  4. Take inventory and revisit your blessings. Remind yourself how great you felt back then. Let the fact that you still have them fill you up with contentment. Don’t take them for granted. Show them respect and make it a priority to enjoy them again.
  5. Allow yourself to be blissed out. It’s okay to feel happy–every day! In fact, it is SO good for the planet. I make it a goal to radiate love and happiness EVERY DAY. I know I create a ripple effect when I do this. What ripple effect do you create every day?

Oh, BTW, I am SO GRATEFUL FOR YOU, reading this! It makes me happy beyond happy to share my words and lessons with others. It is my dream to help the world become a better place, so will you please do me a favor and be happy? Right now? Please? You deserve it and IT COULD BE A WHOLE LOT WORSE. Truth. <3

PAY IT FORWARD: Go show your “thing” some respect and gratitude. Now. It deserves your love and happiness.