With the daily newscasts reporting on the latest statistics pertaining to COVID-19, it can be difficult to stay positive and optimistic. Self-isolation and social-distancing can make it even more challenging which is we are talking about gratitude today.

Cultivating a mindful, positive and appreciative outlook is one of the simplest ways to improve your life. It costs nothing and doesn’t take much time, actually, it takes less time and energy than complaining. All you have to do is become more consciously aware of your blessings. Continuously tell yourself what you are thankful for, let others know you appreciate them, and make gratitude a daily habit.

5 Reasons to Foster an Attitude of Gratitude Year-round

1. Enhance Relationships

More than just good manners, saying “thank you” and showing appreciation can help you make more friends. This comes from a 2014 study in the publication Emotion that found when you thanked a new acquaintance they were more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. When you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Those that appreciate us for who we are, for our talents and contributions make us feel good about ourselves. So go ahead and do the same, be thankful for those that are in your life but also let them know how you feel. And don’t underestimate the power of a hand-written thank you note!

2. Improve Physical Health

A 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences found that those who are grateful report fewer aches and pains than their less-positive counterparts. Further, people who practice an attitude of gratitude are more likely to take better care of their health, exercise more, and attend regular doctor check-ups, cumulating in better overall health.

3. The Law of Attraction

You’ve likely heard of The Secret and the laws of attraction that state we get back what we put out into the world. When you are consciously aware of your blessings, and grateful for them, you reduce toxic emotions such as envy, resentment, anger, regret and frustration. Various studies have substantiated the link between gratitude and well-being, and the findings all confirm that gratitude can reduce depression and increase happiness.

4. Social Graces

How do you react when someone is unkind towards you? If you are grateful, a 2012 University of Kentucky study found that you will be more likely to respond in a prosocial manner. Meaning you have an increased level of sensitivity and empathy towards others and their behaviours and are less likely to retaliate.

5. Get More Zzzzz’s

If you have trouble sleeping, start a gratitude journal. Studies show that those who spend a few minutes each day writing down what they are grateful for get a better night’s sleep. This is because it lessens stress and increases positive thinking before going to bed; calming your mind and helping “shut it off” for a rest.

25 Simple Ways to Make Gratitude a Part of Everyday:

  1. Tell someone you love them and how much you appreciate them.
  2. Notice the beauty in nature each day.
  3. Nurture the friendships you have, good friends don’t come along every day.
  4. Smile more often.
  5. Watch inspiring videos that will remind you of the good in the world.
  6. Include an act of kindness in your life each day.
  7. Call your mom or dad more often.
  8. Cook meals with love, think of the people you will feed.
  9. Spend quality time with your kids, or your lover.
  10. Remember to compliment your friends and family when they look good.
  11. Write a card to someone you haven’t seen in a while and tell them something nice.
  12. Add to your gratitude list daily, at least one more thing each day.
  13. Reward effort, if someone does something nice for you, do something nice for them.
  14. Thank the people who serve you in the community — the shopkeeper, the bus drivers, etc.
  15. Say thank you for the little things your loved ones do for you, things you normally take for granted.
  16. Post quotes and images that remind you to be grateful around your house.
  17. Call into an elderly neighbor and say thank you for their presence in your life.
  18. Embrace challenges and turn them into opportunities to grow.
  19. Be thankful when you learn something new.
  20. When times are bad, focus on your friends who are at your side.
  21. Make a gratitude collage, cut out pictures of all the things that you are grateful for.
  22. Make gratitude a part of family life, share it with each other during meal time.
  23. Practice gratitude at the same time every day to make it a habit.
  24. Focus on your strengths.
  25. Share gratitude each day by posting a tweet, Facebook post or Pinterest.