With Thanksgiving around the corner, I have been digging deeper to really hone in on all things I am grateful for. Life can be difficult at times and when those difficulties come, we usually gravitate toward what we don’t have instead of being grateful for what we do have.

I keep a daily gratitude journal, so I am reminded on a constant basis that no matter what life looks like at the moment we still have so many things to be grateful for.

I suggest you buy a notebook or a journal and write at least five things you are grateful for every day. Go deep. Don’t just concentrate on the obvious things such a home, car etc. Yes, we are grateful for those things, but there are so many other things that are not so obvious that we take for granted.

Here are 5 scientifically proven benefits of gratitude:

1. Gratitude improves self- esteem.

Studies have shown that gratitude reduces social comparisons. Instead of becoming resentful that someone else is doing better than you (which is a major factor in reduced self-esteem), grateful people are able to appreciate other’s accomplishments. Therefore, they are reducing their negative thoughts like, “They are doing better than me” or, “They have more than me” which helps to boost your self-esteem.

2. Gratitude increases mental strength.

Research shows that gratitude not only reduces stress, but it can play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2003 study published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude played a major role in increasing resilience in those involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for even during the worst of times fosters resilience.

3. Gratitude improves physical health.

Science has also proven that grateful people experience less pain and feel healthier than other people. Also, grateful people are more likely to take better care of their health. I am living proof of that I use to weighed 401lbs, but once I learned to love myself and to be grateful for where I was at and for what I had already, my whole life changed.

4. Gratitude improves psychological health.

When we practice gratitude, it reduces a myriad of toxic emotions, from anger, frustration, resentment, bitterness, just to name a few. Robert Emmons, an American psychologist and professor at UC Davis, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research proves that gratitude effectively increases Happiness and reduces depression.

5. Gratitude opens the door to healthier relationships.

Showing appreciation and being grateful can help you to meet new, healthier friends or a lover. Performing good deeds and the expression of gratitude are vital in maintaining close and satisfying relationships. Gratitude plays an essential role in bonding, helps create trust and intimacy. Gratitude is a nutrient that feeds and deepens our relationships. Always express thankful appreciation to those in your life and it will not only improve your life, but others.

Do you have any gratitude practices? Share in the comments below!