In a world where itâ??s oh, so easy to be sucked into seductive marketing images urging us to buy more, be more and have more, many of us live with a nagging sense of dissatisfaction and restlessness. Our minds and emotions are constantly focused on what we lack, rather than what we have. Weâ??re becoming addicted to this insatiable desire for â??stuffâ? that will make us happy, whole and content â?? one day. The trouble is that all this non-stop striving and living in the future seems to be doing quite the opposite; causing illness and depression.

Gratitude makes us more optimistic

A growing body of research supports the notion that something as simple as rediscovering a sense of gratitude for what we have right now, makes us more optimistic.

Optimistic people have stronger immune systems

Weâ??re always underestimating the awesome ripple effect of our daily thoughts, feelings and deeds.  We forget that weâ??re like massive magnets emanating a powerful gravitational field created by our predominant thoughts and the emotions they trigger.

The Law of Attraction ensures that if we expend a vast amount of energy each day feeling angry, frustrated and dissatisfied with our lives, then weâ??ll attract more of that. On the other hand if we choose to invest that energy in a daily celebration of all that we are and all that we have, weâ??ll attract more of that!

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Focus on three things you can be grateful for

â??Whatâ??s to be grateful for when my lifeâ??s a complete messâ?? I hear you say. Maybe youâ??re choosing to focus on â??the mess?â?? How does it make you feel? Now consciously identify and reflect on just three elements of your life that you feel fortunate to have. Hereâ??s a clue. If you can walk, sleep in a bed and are loved by someone, youâ??re already more fortunate than millions of people on this planet.

Now, how does reflecting on the good stuff make you feel? Why invest energy in maximizing the messy areas of your life, knowing it will make you feel depressed, compromise your immune system and attract more of the same, when you can choose the gratitude channel?

Feelings of gratitude can radically alter our perspective

Suddenly the â??Iâ??d die for/I canâ??t live withoutâ? list isnâ??t quite so predominant. Traumatic experiences fade faster and stressful memories lose their intensity. They donâ??t pop up as frequently either. A daily dose of gratitude enhances emotional healing and facilitates closure for stressful experiences. With a little practice, youâ??ll be surprised (even when life looks bleak) just how many blessings are about. I donâ??t generally classify watching the news as an uplifting experience, but by the time youâ??ve been assaulted by vivid images of death, destruction, disasters and dysfunction, it should trigger a gratitude response for a whole battalion of blessings!

Thanking people makes you both feel good

Have you noticed….that when youâ??re the recipient of a heartfelt thankyou, you get an urge to go to the ends of the earth for that person? Well, it works with bank tellers, nurses, taxi drivers and strangers too. Why not write letters of thanks and appreciation to people whoâ??ve enriched your life? Both of you will benefit.

Do an inventory at the end of each day. If you have instant recall of the not-so-great experiences, why not ask yourself instead:
â??Who made me feel good today and whyâ??
â??What incident lifted my spirits or restored my faithâ??
â??What challenges did I meet today, that made me strongerâ??

Gratitude results in feelings of inner peace

Then notice the peace that envelops you. An increasing number of psychologists, mental health clinicians and researchers are advocating the benefits of habitual gratitude to increase our happiness and health quotient. Itâ??s free, can be done anywhere and takes five or ten minutes of your day. And itâ??s infectious, so why not be a role model for your family? Youâ??ll all sleep better, be more motivated and content. So, start your day with a gratitude ritual and by the way, thanks for reading this; I hope itâ??s brightened your day!

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.