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Be Grateful for for Your Own Good

Showing gratitude is one Thanksgiving tradition to practice all year long.

Being thankful on a regular basis, even when things aren’t quite perfect, can lead to happiness and better health. Just ask the experts.

Research shows that expressing gratitude is linked to a host of wellness benefits, including: less depression, a stronger heart and better sleep.

“Clinical trials indicate that the practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life,” said Robert A. Emmons, professor of psychology at University of California Davis. “It can lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep.”

Gratitude in Action

If being grateful doesn’t come naturally, you can learn to be more appreciative through practice. Here are a few ways to foster an attitude of gratitude.

Keep a gratitude journal – make it a practice each evening to write down something that you are grateful for that day, which can be as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich or as sweet as someone complimenting your sweater.

Write thank you notes – let other people know that you are grateful for a gift, gesture or for simply being part of your life.

Be mindful – when going through your day notice the little things that make you smile, such as the smell of coffee brewing, a sunny day or favorite song playing in the elevator.

Surround yourself with positive things – display photos of family and friends, inspirational quotes and live plants to keep the notion of being grateful top of mind.

More good news! Gratefulness also appears to grow with age.

“It is so stunningly humbling and awe-inspiring to be alive every day that I cannot help but think that having the opportunity to grow older and to age is a total privilege worth celebrating. Bring on the effects of gravity…and bring on the gratitude,” says Kristi Nelson, Executive Director of A Network for Grateful Living.