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Research has shown that the act of giving thanks has a positive effect on your health. People who count their blessings are more likely to:


* Have higher self-esteem

* Have stronger relationships

* Get better sleep

* Have a stronger immune system

* Have better physical health because grateful people exercise more, have fewer aches and pains, and are more likely to have an annual check-up with their doctor

* Make better grades in school


With all the benefits that come along with gratitude, we should make it a point to incorporate giving thanks into our daily lives, not just one season out of the year. Things you can do to cultivate gratitude:


* Keep a journal and write down daily things about which you are thankful.

* Send thank you notes to people who have done something nice. It will boost their thankfulness for you, too!

* No time to send a note? Just giving thanks mentally still reaps the benefits of expressing gratitude.

* Count your blessings. Go ahead, count them! Sometimes putting actual numbers to things helps us see how much we have.

* Talk to yourself in an optimistic manner. Even in the face of a challenge, try to see how your circumstance can benefit you in the long run, such as making you more patient or understanding.


Even in the face of loss or tragic events, it is still possible to feel gratitude. It is common for people to experience a surge in gratitude after a tragic event, such as 9/11 and the recent attacks in Paris.  This in turn boosts feelings of belonging and can decrease stress.

We all have the ability to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. By simply taking a few moments to reflect on what we have, rather than what we want, we can live happier and healthier lives.

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