Here's a wonderful post from Michael Masterson as it appeared in a newsletter called Early To Rise:
1. Take one or several walks.
Find a safe, relatively quiet place to walk - preferably a place that is beautiful. Walk slowly. Breathe deeply. Clear your mind. Notice everything around you - the feel of the ground you are walking upon, the quality of the air you are breathing, the sights and sounds that surround you.
Recognize that one day - sooner than you want - your life will end. You will not be around to breathe the clean air, to feel the sun on your skin, and to see the things you find beautiful. You will not be around to hear your children's voices, to feel your lover's touch, to enjoy the thrill of learning something new or feeling passion.
Dwell on the fact that after you are gone, after your ego is extinguished, all those things that you love now will not exist for you any more. But they will exist for those who survive you.
Realize that, in the scope of the universe, you are a temporary bundle of self-absorbed energy that is infinitesimally temporary and virtually meaningless - except to yourself.
With all of that in mind, take full responsibility for your future happiness and success.
2. Make a list of all the people you should be thankful for.
Start with the obvious ones - your parents, your teachers, your mentors, your colleagues, and other people who have helped you. Then include the people who have helped you by letting you love them - your children, your siblings, your friends, your students, your proteges. And then list the people who have helped you by trying to hurt you - your professional and personal enemies.
When the list is done, make a commitment to send a quick, handwritten note to each one of those people, one person a day. Just tell them that you were thinking of them and you want to thank them for the specific gift they gave you. Make it short and sweet.
This exercise will benefit you immediately and continue to benefit you for a long time. The benefits will be both expected (you will renew good relationships) and unexpected (you will have a stronger, braver, and happier heart).
3. Make yourself a promise that you will spend a few moments every day counting your blessings.
One effective way of doing that is to list your current blessings - specific things you can be grateful about - in your daily journal. (I hope you are keeping a journal. If not, start one today. If you do, you will be grateful that you did.)
- I got to eat a turkey sandwich.
- I got to spend a half-hour with Number Three Son.
- I learned something new about blogging ... and so on.
4. To repay the many blessings you have received, promise yourself that you will spend some time every day being kind to others.
Giving kindness is its own reward. But it is also a great way to pass along the good that you have enjoyed. You will have more success in keeping this promise if you give yourself the task of "doing something kind" as a part of your daily to-do list.
It may seem artificial at first, but don't worry about that. After 19 or 20 repetitions, acting kindly will become instinctive and automatic.
5. Spend half an hour resting.
As you rest, think about someone you know or someone you have recently read about who is less fortunate than you are. Imagine how it would be to have that person's problems. Be grateful that you don't and, at the same time, make a wish that he finds relief.
Then think about all the things you are grateful for - your home, your family, the wealth you enjoy (not the wealth you don't yet have), the good food you will be eating, the wine you will be sipping, the games you will be playing, the jokes you will be laughing at, etc. Be specific in your thinking. Don't think "food," think "turkey breast and mashed potatoes with gravy."
6. Say grace before eating - even if, like me, you are not religious.
I usually say something simple, like "Let us be thankful that we have the health that we have, the wealth that we have, and the work that we choose." But you may prefer something cooler, like this gem from Eubie Blake:
"Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind. Listen to the birds. And don't hate nobody."
Your Good News Merchant
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