Do you have an attitude of gratitude? You can develop an attitude of gratitude and a daily journal is a great way to start. Research shows that simply taking five minutes each day to write down the things you are grateful for can increase your happiness as much as doubling your income!

People that kept a daily gratitude journal reported fewer physical and emotional complaints and increased their time spent exercising. They also raised their self-esteem and became less self-centered. They thought less about material gains and more about their spiritual needs.

Gratitude is independent of our circumstances. It can improve our sense of well-being, our optimism and our energy level, even when our situation may be unpleasant or seem overwhelming. Take time to reflect and be thankful. It is an investment we can all make for our health.

Michael Atwood, M.D., CHIE, is the vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. He is a board certified family physician and an American Academy of Family Physicians fellow.

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