For some it’s instinct, others have to practice it, but giving thanks is good for our bodies, minds and our relationships.

Scientists at the University of California at Berkeley, who studied More than 1,000 people between the ages of eight and eighty have found that those who practice gratitude consistently reap many benefits.

Physically, these people had stronger immune systems, less pain and better sleep. At the same time, the psychological benefits included feeling more joy and satisfaction, greater optimism, and greater happiness. Socially, they were more helpful, generous, and compassionate, and even reported feeling less lonely and isolated.

Why is it so powerful? Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present; it distracts us from toxic, negative emotions like envy, resentment, and debilitating regret; and science shows that grateful people have a greater sense of self-worth. Studies even show that grateful people recover better from serious injuries, adversity, and suffering.

Here are five tips to help cultivate gratitude for yourself and others as we head into winter.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on October 27, 2020.

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Why gratitude is good for us – and five ways to practise it this winter