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I have a simple gratitude project anyone can try for making life better.

Grateful for a pelican at Morro Bay, CA (Hadi Dadashian photo)

It works.

I know, because I’ve been experimenting with it for almost a year.

Begin each day with a statement of gratitude and see how much your better day goes.

Pause during the day    — especially if frustrations mount at work or home — for a quiet moment of gratitude, and note how your outlook improves immediately.

End the day with gratitude.

This can done in prayer or meditation. It can be a simple affirmation.

Practice this: “I am grateful for …”

Focusing on such basic affirmations of gratitude — practicing mindfulness, in the moment — has helped me deal with disability and chronic pain.

It has helped me manage my pain without any medication. I have had only one Tylenol so far this year.

It has helped me manage frustration and other negative emotions.

Gratitude has been a motivator, helping me see the world through a more optimistic lens, even on bad days.

It has helped me to be healthier, and to be stronger. I’ve been more productive; my writing has blossomed in new ways.

Sorry, Oprah. Sorry, Tony Robbins

I’m no Pollyanna. I don’t believe people who insist you can live in a positive state of mind all the time. (Sorry, Oprah. Sorry, Tony Robbins.)

I’m unemployed, and that’s more than enough reason to be cynical about people who insist a positive attitude solves everything.

I can’t say I live in a state of constant bliss, but I do live in a constant state of gratitude.

The simple gratitude project I began almost a year ago has made my life better.

TOMORROW: The ripple effect of being grateful for One. Small. Thing.