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The Gift of Thanks 

Life Coaching: Gratitude can be experienced in many ways

click to enlarge Carla Brannan is a certified professional life coach in Spokane.
  • Carla Brannan is a certified professional life coach in Spokane.

We're halfway through winter in a year that's still young. On a scale from one to 10, how's it going? It's not uncommon for folks who live in colder climates with shorter days to experience more sadness this time of year. While we wait for spring to arrive, let's bump up our happiness by paying attention to what is good in our lives and perhaps even keeping track of it. Research shows that individuals with a "gratitude practice" have an increase in happiness and overall well-being.

Gratitude can be experienced in many ways. You may consider your past by retrieving positive memories from childhood or past blessings. You might want to start in the here and now, by not taking current good fortune for granted. Or you may want to focus on the future by having a hopeful, optimistic attitude.

In addition to helping you feel good in the moment, practicing gratitude also has a side effect of improving health. Grateful people just take better care of themselves, trying to engage in regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and having regular physical exams, according to research.

Here are a few ideas to make your gratitude practice simple to begin:

Start fresh each day by noting what you're grateful for over breakfast and your favorite morning beverage.

Find someone to be your gratitude partner, and email, text or call each other to share what you were grateful for that day.

Keep a gratitude journal. You can use pen and paper, type it into your computer or download an app.

Give it a whirl! You just might be grateful that you did.

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