Family Walking Dog Through Winter WoodlandWe all know that stress can make us sick … but, did you know that gratitude relieves stress, boosts the immune system, and makes us healthier?

You may also be surprised to know that the people who feel the most grateful are not those with the most money and stuff. They are simply people who take the time to reflect on the everyday benefits of being alive. Gratitude can be cultivated. Give it a try. At the end of the day, ask yourself what you did that you enjoyed, what you were glad happened or didn’t happen, what you saw that made you smile. It could be that something this simple might just boost your health.

In a University of California study, reported in Robert Emmon’s book “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier,” people were asked to keep journals. Group 1 was assigned to regularly record five things they were grateful for. Group 2 described five hassles. Group 3 wrote about five events that affected them.

At the end of the study, Group 1 reported greater life satisfaction, more optimism about the future, and fewer health problems. All from gratitude.