A Gratitude Attitude – take a deep breath, and count your blessings

Everyday life can wear down anyone; sometimes it seems you’re facing an insurmountable series of burdens. And when stress swirls, it’s easy to lose perspective. If negativity begins to overwhelm you, try this: Pause, take a deep breath, and count your blessings.

Research shows those who practice gratitude are more optimistic, feel more energetic, have stronger immune systems, handle stress more easily, and are less prone to depression. If you feel like your glass is half full, consciously decide to flip your mood; you may find your cup runneth over:

Start a gratitude journal: Keep a list (at least 5 things a day) of all you’re thankful for, from the mundane to the extraordinary — like a good friend, close relative, or pet; a day of nice weather; natural beauty… even just the comfort of a warm bath and bed.

Express it: Reach out to those who’ve inspired you. A university professor studied students who were required to send real letters of gratitude to mentors. The results: Many students showed stronger feelings of happiness the more often they wrote.

Make new habits: Be optimistic in the face of adversity. Find the good in every situation. This may seem unnatural, but with practice and retraining your thought process, you’ll learn to accentuate the positive.

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