Practicing gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools to boost our happiness and wellbeing– and we’re not talking about just saying ‘thank you’ more often. Studies have shown that feeling grateful doesn’t just make us feel more positive but can also improve our physical health.

Research published in Personality and Individual Differences in 2012 found that grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and reported feeling healthier. Another study, conducted by the University of Kentucky showed that participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were also more empathetic and less likely to retaliate against others when given negative feedback.

Gratitude has also been linked to improved self-esteem, greater mental strength, and those who practice it have more restful sleep. Cultivating gratitude isn’t difficult. In fact, feeling more grateful every day can be achieved by making some little changes to your outlook. We’ve put together 15 ways you can show more gratitude every day.

  1. Focus on something you’re looking forward to. It doesn’t have to be far in the future, it could be an afternoon treat or reading a book in the evening.
  2. At the end of the day write down three things in your life that make you happy.
  3. Look at every day things as “gifts”. Savour the gift of a morning coffee, see the sun shining as a gift or simply cherish the fact that you have access to fresh air.
  4. Send somebody a message out of the blue telling them how much you appreciate them.
  5. Donate $5 to a charity you believe in.
  6. Look yourself in the mirror and quietly tell yourself, “I appreciate you”.
  7. Memorise a quote that makes you feel happy, write it down or stick it to your desk.
  8. Remind yourself that you have the ability to change your situation and your potential is infinite.
  9. Appreciate food, acknowledge the contentment and satisfaction it bring and savour the taste in every bite.
  10. If something is causing you stress ask yourself, “What’s good about this?”, “How is this a learning experience?” and “Will I remember this in 10 years time or will it pass by and disappear?”
  11. Take 10 minutes and go for a walk. Focus on your breathing and appreciate the things you see; trees, plants, flowers on a window sill, food in shop windows, a blue sky.
  12. Think about what made you smile today, even if it’s something small.
  13. Acknowledge one ungrateful thought you’ve had today. Think about it and transform it into a grateful one.
  14. Start a gratitude journal, before you go to bed write down one thing that you appreciated that day. If you get to an evening where you struggle to write anything, simply go back through the pages and see all of the good things that have happened to you.
  15. Take half an hour of me-time. Whether it’s a break at work, thirty minutes in the morning before you leave the house or just a quiet time where you read or journal in the evening. Make it a habit and tune out from the world.