Count your blessings…

They're not just the ones you think

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If you rely on television or other mass media outlets to define what is important in life, you might think that happiness can be found in making loads of money. Or owning a sprawling house. Or driving an expensive luxury car. Or sporting the latest fashions. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

It is often the things that we take for granted-family, friends, our health and the ability to help others-that produce the most joy in our lives. Sadly, in the relentless pursuit of material things, we often neglect to take care of the people and those intangible things that should take precedence. Luckily, it’s not too late to get back into the simple swing of things.

“You don’t have to be led by the dictates of a consumer-driven society,” says Robin A. Sheerer, author of No More Blue Mondays: Four Keys to Finding Fulfillment at Work (Davies-Black Publishing, $16.95). “Living by the principle that happiness is not getting what you want but wanting what you have will…[give you] peace of mind.”

The idea isn’t to abandon your job or business and live the life of a pauper. Rather, it’s to shift some of your focus from material things to the people and things that really matter. Don’t forget to count them as the real blessings of life-and treat them as such.