3 everyday ways to practice gratitude for health and happiness

Story highlights

  • Like any skill worth mastering, gratitude takes daily practice
  • Building it into your routines and relationship can improve your health and happiness
Editor's note: Dana Santas is the creator of Radius Yoga Conditioning, a yoga style designed to help athletes move, breathe and focus better. She's the yoga trainer for the Atlanta Braves, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Lightning, Orlando Magic and dozens of pros in the National Football League, National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball.

(CNN)As wonderful as it is to devote an entire day to celebrating gratitude, Thanksgiving shouldn't be the only time we reflect on reasons to give thanks. Although one-time efforts to show gratitude produce immediate boosts in happiness and drops in depression, if not repeated the positive effects disappear over time. In fact, a growing body of research supports that daily doses of gratitude deliver marked ongoing benefits, ranging from improved mental and physical health to enhanced relationships, self-esteem and overall life satisfaction.

Like any skill worth mastering, gratitude takes practice. Here are three approaches that offer easy, everyday ways to integrate gratitude into your lifestyle.

    Sow the seeds of gratitude every day

    Every morning, set your focus on what you have -- not what you don't -- by identifying at least one positive thing in your life. Be careful to avoid anything materialistic. Instead, concentrate on satisfied needs, like aspects of your health and relationships, to increase levels of gratitude and happiness.
    Cultivate your sense of gratitude by incorporating giving thanks into a personal morning ritual such as writing in a gratitude journal, repeating an affirmation or practicing a meditation. It could even be as simple as writing what you give thanks for on a sticky note and posting it on your mirror or computer. To help you establish a daily routine, create a "thankfulness" reminder on your phone or computer to pop up every morning and prompt you.
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