A gratitude attitude: How to make gratitude a habit

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Often one of the nice things about aging is that you begin to appreciate what really matters in life, including the small things you may have previously taken for granted. Gratitude is being thankful for every experience life throws at you, materially, emotionally or spiritually.

Mayo Clinic research shows a daily practice of gratitude can boost your energy, improve your mood, increase optimism and enhance well-being. Gratitude can help you accept the things you can't change. Here are some ways to make gratitude a habit:

--Start your day with gratitude. Before you even get out of bed, make the first thought of your day one of gratitude. Take a few deep breaths and think about five people you're grateful to have in our life. One by one, send each person your silent gratitude while breathing out, slowly and deeply.

--Start a gratitude journal. As you end your day, jot down at least one thing for which you're grateful. It can be an important event or something as simple as a good cup of coffee.

--Collect gratitude sayings. You can find poignant quotes about gratitude in novels, books of poetry, great speeches and spiritual texts. When you see one, write it down. You may want to post them on the refrigerator, a corkboard or your car visor. When you're having a bad day, let a quite redirect your mind.

--Be grateful to those you help. Thank the people who seek your help. Be grateful that you're able to share your wisdom and unconditional love as a gift to others.

--Look for positives in the negatives. There will be bad days, no doubt. But focusing on the positive and looking for the silver lining can make even the bad days more tolerable.