12/13/2013 06:58 pm ET Updated Feb 12, 2014

Mindfulness + Gratitude

We live in a very fast paced, multitasking, competitive, "What have you done for me today?" society. Last summer I started practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is defined as a state of active, open attention in the present moment.

I must admit that I'm not always 100-percent mindful, and at times I do multitask, but this year I have consciously and sincerely tried to be mindful in all situations. It's amazing the things you notice and feel when you are truly present and not just going through the motions. I contend that practicing and moving with gratitude is an extension of mindfulness. I believe that when we are truly present we have the ability to see and receive blessings in abundance. It's like riding in the passenger seat along a route that you have driven 100 times. You notice billboards, you notice the shapes and colors of the trees, you see things that have always been there but because you were busy paying attention to the road and traffic you never saw them.

For the past 16 years, I have practiced gratitude. I started with "keeping track," a long list in my journal during my college years. Now I capture five things a day that I'm thankful for in my gratitude journal or my gratitude app on my iPhone.

At times I've been in such a funk or I've felt so overwhelmed that it's been a stretch to come up with five things that I'm thankful for. However, the more I practice gratitude the more things I notice that I have to be thankful for. I now know that focusing on gratitude and being thankful for what I do have and what blessings have been bestowed upon me and my family is far healthier and much more productive than allowing fear, anxiety, doubt and worry to overcome me.

Today, I'm thankful for temperatures above zero degrees. I'm thankful for a goodnight sleep. I'm thankful for options. I'm thankful for friends that decided to host a Scandal viewing party, and I'm thankful for independence.

What are you thankful for today?