With Thanksgiving in just 24 hours and the upcoming holiday season, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and tired, just thinking about all you have to do to prepare. If you’re like most people, you probably want to enjoy life, feel better and have more energy, especially during this hectic time of the year. One of the best ways to obtain these perks is to practice gratitude daily.

In other words, it’s important to find something to be thankful for each day, all year long. Developing an attitude of gratitude doesn’t involve any financial investment, and the perks are plentiful. Here are some guidelines for becoming a more thankful person, which can lead to improved physical and emotional health.

The Rewards of a Thankful Heart

There have been studies revealing how having a grateful attitude has made a positive difference in how people feel about their lives. An impressive study was done in which one group was instructed to record everything for which they were thankful, while another group listed their daily annoyances for 10 weeks. When the experiment was over, it was discovered that those writing about gratitude felt better about their lives and were more optimistic. What’s more, they had fewer doctor visits than the group that wrote about their irritations.

How to be More Thankful

Create a gratitude journal. One of the main ways to become more grateful is by keeping a daily gratitude journal in which you note everything for which you’re thankful. If you don’t like to write, just jot down a few quick notes. You could even use an app for recording your gratitude entries.

Set up a gratitude box or jar. What’s this? A gratitude box or jar contains a pencil and slips of paper for recording positive items and events. After writing down each item or event for which you’re thankful, drop the slip of paper into the container. Then, schedule a time to reread your gratitude entries or even share them with family members.

Thank others. Write letters to people who’ve made a positive impact on your life, specifically detailing what they did and how it helped you. A University of Pennsylvania psychologist did such a study in which 411 people wrote and delivered gratitude letters to people who had helped them. The results showed a tremendous increase in happiness among the participants.

Hang out with grateful people. If most of your friends are negative, chances are you will be, too. That’s why it’s so critical that you associate with positive, thankful people.

Keep in Mind

  • Use meditation as a means for practicing gratitude. Each day, set aside some time for slowly inhaling and exhaling as you close your eyes and think of positive images and thoughts.
  • Rather than focusing on yourself, such as your own goodness, dwell on the good deeds that other people have done for you.
  • Look for talents and skills in others. This can be especially beneficial when coping with annoying or boring relatives during holiday dinners.
  • Remember that gratitude is not the same thing as indebtedness. In other words, indebtedness usually revolves around paying someone back and doesn’t entail the same payback of being grateful.