5 Easy Ways to Increase Gratitude in Your Daily Life

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."  -- Oprah Winfrey

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, gratitude is on our minds—but maybe not for long enough. If we can continue the practice of expressing gratitude beyond the Thanksgiving holiday though, it can actually improve our quality of life.

People experience many benefits from the daily practice of gratitude

Studies have shown that those who try to consciously recognize things they are grateful for in life enjoy a greater sense of happiness, have a stronger immune system, sleep better, and experience more positive emotions.

To truly enjoy these benefits though, practicing gratitude should become a daily habit. It's not hard to do—it just takes commitment to create a new habit of being mindful about the things you are grateful for on a daily basis.

Five easy ways to increase gratitude

1) Probably the best way to practice expressing gratitude daily is to keep a gratitude journal. This can just be a simple notebook where you write down a few things each day for which you are grateful. It's best if you write down very specific things that happened on that particular day. Decide on a number, say three or five, and write down this many new things that you can feel grateful for from each day.

Gratitude journaling works because it slowly changes the way you focus on things. If you just write, "I'm grateful for my family," day after day, this won't keep your brain on alert for fresh grateful moments. Instead, get more specific in moments of gratitude like, "My son called me this afternoon," or "my sister invited me for dinner tonight."

2) Realize that gratitude doesn't have to be reserved for big, monumental things. Yes, you will feel grateful for a nice birthday celebration, but you can also express gratitude for that delicious piece of pie you had at lunch today.

3) Post quotes and images that remind you to be grateful around your apartment. This will help you keep this new practice fresh in mind.

4) Say "thank you" before your feet hit the floor each morning. When you wake up, take just a moment to feel grateful for the day ahead. Beginning each morning with a grateful heart is a positive start for your day.

5) Stretch yourself beyond those things right in front of you. Notice new things in the world around you for which you can feel gratitude. Instead of just going for a walk, go for a mindful walk. Notice the flowers around you, the lovely clouds, the children playing. There's always something you can appreciate in the beauty around you every day.

It's a fact—If you get in the habit of practicing gratitude every day, you truly will enjoy a greater sense of happiness!