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The payoff of practicing gratitude

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Photo: Stocksy/Boris Jovanovic

Counting your blessings may sound kind of hokey. But, it turns out, the practice really has an effect on your mood and your health.

“If we list a few things we’re grateful for, we cultivate a state of calm, a positive attitude, and a sense of perspective,” says Ellen Goldstein, MD, an integrative psychiatrist at One Medical’s Flatiron location. (And who couldn’t use that?)

Studies have found that those who keep a gratitude journal feel happier, are more optimistic, spend more time working out, and have fewer physical ailments.

Want a little mood-booster? Dr. Goldstein prescribes three ways to develop an attitude of gratitude:

1. Spend two minutes daily journaling about what you’re grateful for. “Even when things aren’t necessarily going our way, we still have things to be grateful for,” says Dr. Goldstein. Check out these quotes if you need a little help getting started.

2. Meditate for a few minutes every day on what you’re most thankful for. “This helps strengthen the muscle of mindful awareness,” says Dr. Goldstein.

3. Practice with a buddy. Take turns saying three things you’re thankful for. “Do this every night before bed with your significant other. This will cultivate a positive attitude,” says Dr. Goldstein. It can help you get a good night’s rest, too. —Amy Eley