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5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Life Through Gratitude

Here are some ways you can start practicing gratitude today:
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"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

Gratitude is powerful! Counting your blessings, practicing thankfulness, and acknowledging what is good in your life shifts your focus from what is lacking in your life to the abundance that is ever present. Practicing gratitude is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall satisfaction with life.

Robert Emmons, one of the world's top scientific experts on gratitude, has worked with more than one thousand people of all ages. His studies found that people who regularly practice gratitude are healthier, more generous, outgoing and forgiving toward others; and experience more aliveness, happiness, and pleasure.

Sometimes it is difficult to practice gratitude when we are going through a difficult time, but those are the times when we need to practice it the most. By acknowledging what we are grateful for in those situations, we can feel more optimistic, hopeful, and increase our sense of well-being. Gratitude takes practice, however. It is like working a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes.

Here are some ways you can start practicing gratitude today:

Keep a gratitude journal.
Each day write down five things you experienced in the day that you are grateful for. They can be simple as your child's smile or a warm bath. As you remember it and write it down, enjoy the feeling you had as you experienced it.

Look for the good in a situation, not the bad.
It is all a matter of perspective and what you choose to focus on. Perhaps you had a bad day at work, but you are home now and feel grateful that you are getting a paycheck. Maybe you had poor service at a restaurant, but you still enjoyed a night out with your spouse and did not have to cook dinner.

Say "thank you" to the people who serve you in the community.
The barista, your hairdresser, taxi driver, and supermarket cashier all help make your life easier. Show them some love.

Express your gratitude to important people in your life.
Let people in your life know how much they mean to you. Share your feelings with them, and don't take them for granted. "We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives." -- John F. Kennedy

Practice gratitude with your loved ones.
At dinnertime, you may ask your family to express one thing they are grateful for. If you hear a friend complaining about something, invite them to consider the silver lining in the situation.

Share a gratitude each day on social media.
Send a tweet or a Facebook post out to your friends letting them know what you are grateful for and watch a trend begin.

Practicing gratitude every day can keep you open to all the good in your life and make the way for more good.

"If the only prayer you say in your life is 'thank you,' that would suffice." - Meister Eckhart

This article originally appeared on Seeking Increase.