Having just returned from a long journey through Peru and Chile - my first real-life encounter with the harsh realities of developing countries - I am now acutely aware that warm running water in my home is a luxury. Having endured the howling engines and black clouds of exhaust that filled the streets of Lima, I find myself savoring the fresh air of my quiet neighborhood. Having worried about robbers on the dark streets of Chile, I appreciate the peace and safety of my own country like never before. What a sanctuary we live in!

Despite the countless privileges and luxuries we have, it's easy to lose sight of them. With the global financial crisis, and the personal turmoil it has brought, many people are feeling discouraged. It's understandable - but it's times like these when we must keep perspective.

I encourage you to stop what you're doing for a few minutes, and just tune in to the tremendous wealth you enjoy. Look in all corners of your life: your health, abilities, family, friends and physical environment.

Start a list of the blessings you are grateful for, including the obvious ones such as your health. Think of the gifts that you usually take for granted, like your cozy bed in a safe room. And don't forget your invisible blessings, such as the love of your friends and family, the joy your kids bring you, and the possibilities that come with an education.

Keep your list close by and add to it regularly. Whenever you feel down about your shrinking investments and growing bills, review the list to remind yourself that financial wealth is only one asset in your portfolio of blessings.

The wealth in your life is much bigger than your bank account. When you remember to appreciate and enjoy all of your wealth, your gratitude will bring you peace of mind.

Author's Bio: 

Julia James, CPCC, PCC, M.Sc. is a multi-lingual certified life coach, award-winning author and International speaker. She helps busy professionals around the world achieve balance in their lives through individual coaching and workshops. Author of the book, The Mini-Retreat Solution and the audio CD series, Guided Mini-Retreats for Busy People, she provides tools to manage stress effectively and to relax and re-energize quickly. Julia has been featured on Joy TV, CBC News, as well as in The Globe & Mail, Glow Magazine, BC Business Magazine and The Vancouver Observer. For more information visit: www.juliajames.ca