Eight Tips for Increasing Your Gratitude

According to a WebMD article, people who are grateful also engage in healthy behaviors like exercise and a healthy diet. Grateful people are also more optimistic, which contributes to a better immune system and decreases depression. In short, people with an attitude of gratitude receive a boost to their spiritual, mental, and physical health.

So the benefits are clear. But how do you develop gratitude if it's not your regular disposition? Here are eight ways to begin to develop a new attitude.

1. Do good for someone else. You don't have to look far to find someone in need. When you do something for someone else, it's easier to be grateful for what you have.

2. Start a gratitude journal. Choose a paper journal or use journaling software (or a blog) and write each day about things you are grateful for. This forces you to look closely every day for good things in your life.

3. Count your blessings. Whenever you have a negative thought, try counting your blessings to counteract it. It sounds cheesy, but it helps to focus on the positive things in your life.

4. Give thanks. The words 'thank you' are always appreciated by others. Make a point of thanking the people in your life. Thank God, thank your spouse, thank your family, friends, and coworkers. Give thanks when thanks is due.

5. Write notes. A note is a special way of saying thanks that can mean a lot to the recipient. Look for opportunities to send a thank-you note.

6. Be grateful for adversity. It's easy to be grateful for the good things, but what about adversity and troubles? Being grateful for your challenges gives you perspective and helps you appreciate all aspects of your life.

7. Listen to your self-talk. We always have thoughts in our heads. Try listening to what you're saying to yourself. Is it positive? If it isn't, stop the negative thought and replace it with something positive.

8. Dwell on the good things. Think about the things that make you happy and the things you are grateful for. A positive person attracts positive things.

An attitude of gratitude definitely takes practice. It's easy to slip into negativity and notice the bad things. It takes a bit more effort to notice and be grateful for the positive things in your life, but the benefits are worth it! Practice gratitude and eventually it will become part of you.