We could all use a mood boost about now! Research has shown that consistently practicing gratitude over time can lead to feeling more positive emotions and help you deal with stress. Practising gratitude is a way of reminding yourself of all the good things that have happened to you (and savouring them). However, gratitude also involves acknowledging and being thankful for the people who helped make those good things happen.

Gratitude can just be a way you feel and think, or you can involve expressing your thanks to someone who has helped you or been kind. Gratitude stops you taking people for granted and can help you connect to others, to nature, or a higher being. Thus, gratitude also builds stronger relationships, after all who doesn’t like to be appreciated! Gratitude has also been linked to higher wellbeing; to some aspects of better physical health including improved immunity (which could be handy at the moment); and to higher quality of life even when experiencing age-related chronic illnesses.

Gratitude exercises may also help those who are depressed or anxious (though often other help is required as well). What can we do to be more grateful? Start by writing down three things you are grateful for that happened that day. They can be small like a compliment you received, or large like the birth of a grandchild. Write them down, including details about what (and who) made them happen and how each of them made you feel. Do this every day for a week, then once a week. The Greater Good Science Centre has some more suggestions for increasing gratitude, such as the Gratitude Journal, or writing a gratitude letter. To see more visit: https://ggia.berkeley.edu/

As Josh Groban says in his song Thankful: “and even though this world needs so much more, there’s so much to be thankful for.”