Gratitude is defined as a feeling of thanks or appreciation.There have been rumors,for a while,that thankfulness increases happiness, thus improving overall health. Lately, however, there has been a glut of published studies actually proving thatgratitude absolutely improves your health.

Can Anyone Be Grateful?
In order to experience gratitude, you don’t have to be wealthy or have a multitude of material objects. Gratitude has less to do with the outside than the “in.” It’s a feeling, finding the positive things in your everyday circumstances. In fact, research has shown that levels of happiness amongst underprivileged populations (the poor)rival those with affluence (lots of money).

What are the Perks?
The number one, proven, positive-effect as a direct practice of gratitude is the diminishing effects of depression. The National Institute of Health, reports that symptoms of depressioncan be relieved by gratitude. Another study suggests that practicing gratitude can strengthen your memory. Maybe it’s nature’s funny way of saying, “The more you’re grateful, the more I’ll let you remember.”

Bottom line, the advantages to gratitude-practice are: decreased symptoms of depression, a more joyful look toward the future, lower blood pressure, heart-disease prevention, stronger immune system, feeling less isolated, getting better sleep, and improved relationships across the board. Pretty impressive for a little thanks now and then.

How Do I Do It?
One suggestion is to keep a journal. Recording your thoughts and experiences on paper reconfirms the positivity in your life. Self-talk is also a habit that we can alter to reflect positive emotion. Yes, self-talk means talking to yourself. We’re used to mumbling negative thoughts or comments; let’s try to remain aware of our thoughts. If you notice the negative, try to nip it and change it.

So, if increasing your mental and physical health is on your to-do list, then gratitude is something well worth introducing or expanding into your everyday life.