Have you ever caught yourself vigorously complaining about something you felt you couldn't do anything about? Have you ever told yourself you needed to quit complaining, only to find yourself in the same old complaining scenario the very next day? I'm not talking about dissatisfaction that motivates us to look for creative ideas or solutions. And, I don't mean ordinary challenges that help us grow. I'm talking about needless complaining that serves absolutely no purpose because you can't do anything about it. Or, maybe it isn't you who's the habitual complainer--maybe it's someone you know.

Whether it's your own negativity or someone else's, negativity can turn a sunny day into a gloomy one. Needless complaining day after day can stifle the greatness of the human spirit and lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. And, negativity that goes unchecked can lead to a self-destructive lifestyle that robs you and those around you of positive emotions, optimism, and a feeling of connection to all life.

It would be great if everyone was full of energy and moving through life without resistance. In reality, many of us feel exhausted, need to lower our stress levels, and could really use more joy in our lives on a daily basis. The good news is that we can achieve all of this just by creating a happier frame of mind. And adapting an attitude of gratitude can create a happier outlook on life. By choosing to live in gratitude, we bless what is working in our lives instead of lamenting what is not. Recent research shows the practice of gratitude can reduce stress, help us experience more satisfaction with life and have more vitality.

By practicing gratitude, we make a conscious effort to look for the good in our lives. Practicing gratitude is a lifestyle choice that we must make if we want to feel healthier and happier. Replacing old habits with new ones is sometimes hard work, but the gratitude habit will take root over time if we cultivate it.

Here are a few simple suggestions to make it easy for you to practice your new habit of gratitude until it becomes a lifestyle change.

1 As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, remind yourself how blessed you are and say "thank you."

2 Slow down until you begin to notice the blessings all around you--the miracle in a smile, a beautiful sunset and the first spring flower.

3 Every night ask yourself what this day has brought to you.

4 Every night ask yourself what you have given in return.

Remember the words of Helen Keller: "Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows."

Author's Bio: 

Katherine Scherer and Eileen Bodoh are the authors of "Gratitude Works: Open Your Heart to Love," an inspirational book that helps readers access the healing power of gratitude, and the e-books "Gratitude Works Journal" and "Gratitude Works Prayer Book." Their mission is to touch lives with the spirit of gratitude. www.gratitudeworks.com