Recently, I got into a long conversation with a good friend about her divorce. Her soon-to-be-ex husband made millions of dollars while they were together, but he forced her to sign a prenuptial agreement before they were married. During their marriage, she focused on caring for their children and did not develop her own career. Now my friend is locked in a custody battle with her husband and faced with the prospect of starting her professional life over again in her late 40s. It is a terrifying situation; however, I pointed out that even in the worst-case scenario, she would walk away from her marriage with enough money to give herself a huge head start while deciding what she wants her life to ultimately look like. She has a terrific relationship with her children, friends and family members who love and support her, so she never has to feel alone throughout this trying process. Instead of focusing on all of the negative things she is facing, I suggested that this is a time to be grateful and look forward to the ways in which her life will surely improve once she’s free from an unhappy marriage.

I have a Thanksgiving tradition during which I ask everyone around the dinner table to express what he or she is thankful for. It’s a wonderful thing to do because it helps you better understand and empathize with your family and friends. But more important, I believe that being grateful is one of the most powerful things you can do to bring happiness and peace to yourself and to the world. Even in the worst of times, there is always something small to be grateful for: a person, a meal, a moment. And by focusing on the positive, you remind yourself and others that there is always something to celebrate and look forward to.

This year, I am grateful for …

>My son, Max; he radiates health and is a happy and easygoing kid. He’s weathered a long-distance move, changing schools, losing a dog and his parents’ divorce with a sweet and positive attitude.

>My son’s father, who is an excellent dad and a terrific co-parent; it took some work, but we’re now a solid team!

>My dad, who loves his grandchild so much; I love to watch him play with my son, and I know how much they both benefit.

>My friends, who are patient with my work schedule and irregular phone calls; nothing like my ride or die crew!
>My health; I have no major issues, and I think I’ve finally figured my 40+ metabolism (It’s slooow). I’m exercising, eating well and maintaining a weight I can live with.

>My job; even I have days when I want to take a sledgehammer to my alarm clock when it goes off on a Monday morning. But I’ve found an industry that I love and work that makes me happy.

>I can be proud of myself. I set some pretty high goals for myself this past year, and I had to overcome some equally serious obstacles in order to achieve them. My determination has carried me through, and I’ve made real progress.

This is a good month to think about what you’re grateful for in your own life. Hit me up on Twitter or email me to tell me what brings you joy.