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Gratitude is a warm feeling of thankfulness towards the world, or towards specific individuals. The person who feels gratitude is thankful for what they have and does not constantly seek more.
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. 
It helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.

Provides a strong positive impact on psychological well-being as well. It increases self-esteem, enhances positive emotions, and makes us more optimistic. When we feel deep happiness, our bodies are producing all sorts of wonderful chemicals. Keller explains more specifically how rewarding it is for our body.

Experiencing gratitude activates neurotransmitters like dopamine, which we associate with pleasure, and serotonin, which regulates our mood. It also causes the brain to release oxytocin, a hormone which induces feelings like trust and generosity which promotes social bonding, and feeling connected. 

— AMY E. KELLER, PSYD

Here are five favorite ways to practice gratitude:

  1. Set time aside each day to make a list of what you are thankful for. Start with the tiniest details, and write down even just one thing. On days when you’re feeling empty – or just wanting an excuse to smile – go back and read some of your list. Ann Voskamp says it best: “When I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.”
  2. Tell other people “thank you” when they do something kind for you, no matter how small the deed.
  3. Don’t allow other people’s bitterness or negativity, or any other outward circumstance, to influence your inner peace. Look for the best in everyone, and believe and say the best about them.
  4. Anger, disappointment, failure, and frustration are parts of life, but don’t let them become your default emotions. Don’t be complacent and resign yourself to victimhood. Choosing to live from a place of gratitude brings peace.
  5. Build gratitude around you with small, daily, unexpected, undeserved acts of love, compassion, grace, and forgiveness.
gratitude journal

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