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At the risk of coming off all Pollyanna, I really am feeling incredibly grateful for the life we are blessed with in this country, this town, this house, this week.

Sure, we have questionable politicians, the economy is still a bit wobbly, and there is always a constant pressure to keep everything flowing well, in family life and in your job.

 

But it’s events like the devastating earthquakes, global warming, terrorist scares overseas, the plight of refugees the world over which really do make you take stock: have a look at everything you actually have – health, family, love, a roof over your head – and start to just feel grateful.

I am one of the worst for bouts of blatant ungratefulness: I stub my toe in the morning, perhaps have a bad hair day and burn the toast, and that’s it, I am in a foul mood and bemoan everything that happens to me from there on in.

But I recognise the value in trying to change this.

Most of us have read, or at least heard of, the self-help, motivational books and tapes which encourage relentless optimism and a quite irritatingly sunny outlook on life when “the chips are down”. Being a sceptic at the best of times, this is not what I am saying.

All it takes is perhaps five minutes a day of thinking about everything you are grateful for – maybe while going for a walk, or having a morning cuppa, even watching your kids sleep – and honestly, it sets you in the best frame of mind.

Another thing, which research has shown time and time again, is that giving to those less fortunate can really boost the mood – those who give more to charity, really do reap more rewards, and those who volunteer are constantly being reported as the happiest of us all.

This got me to thinking, about altruism, the act of giving to feel good and whether it really works. Has anyone out there got any thoughts on the matter?

Please share with us all and let us know how giving, or simply putting a positive spin on your thoughts, has helped you in life.

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