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The first step to living in gratitude is to say thanks.

Thankful for Pacific waves, Southern Oregon coast. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

It’s as simple as that.

If gratitude in prayer or meditation is not part of your life, saying thanks can as simple as just expressing gratitude — in thought or out loud — for what makes life worth living.

Start with yourself.

Find one thing about yourself or your life that makes you grateful, and start with that.

It can be as simple as being thankful for one sense:  I’m thankful that I have sight because without it, I would not see …

Or: I’m so grateful for the sense of smell because my morning begins with the fragrance of fresh-mown grass … I’m thankful for the sense of touch, because it means I can stroke my cat/my dog/my lover/my child’s sweet face … and feel connected.

Even if you’re not feeling well, or you’re feeling unloved, there is something to be thankful for. Living in gratitude helps you focus on the good in life, however small it might seem at this moment.

Living in gratitude eases depression

If you’re anxious, depressed, worried, or frustrated, deciding to live in gratitude is a first step to easing your suffering.

Scientific research supports this; major religions, shamans and spiritual guides have been spreading this message for centuries.

No matter how awful or angry you’re feeling, start the day with a thought of thanks.

Just One. Small. Thing.

“Today, I am grateful for …”

This is the first step to changing your life: Living in gratitude starts with saying thanks.

TOMORROW: A simple gratitude project