Ian-HartDo you ever have one of those days when nothing goes right for you? Or you wake up and everything just falls apart? Or you hear some really bad news that just changes your feeling and energy?

I used to have days like that all the time. When I was growing up, I would actually wake up pissed off at the world, angry and irritated. I didn’t know why or what was going on until I became conscious that I was living in those depressive feelings. I was unconsciously and continually reinforcing them every time I let them permeate my body, making them more and more ingrained in my psyche. Overcoming low feelings can be extremely challenging, but there’s one emotion that’s very powerful for changing our health and our life, and it’s proven by research and backed by science. That emotion is gratitude. Sure, it is important that we acknowledge those low feelings to let them pass, but if we live in gratitude, we will see those low feelings melt away.

The good news is that every single emotion, every thought and feeling, can be strengthened with practice and effort. Just like a muscle. I know this from personal experience, because I went from feeling depressed, angry, and pissed off at the world to strengthening my gratitude muscle, my appreciation muscle, my compassion muscle, my courage muscle, et cetera. By increasing these positive emotions and feelings, I consequently decreased the strength of my anger, my shame, and my guilt muscles and let the good feelings take control. Try feeling angry when you are feeling grateful; it’s not possible, and the simple fact is when we have a daily practice of gratitude, we transform our feelings, which changes our life. Research has shown that people who have an attitude of gratitude are better at coping with stress, they have less anxiety, they have a greater overall feeling of happiness, as well as less pain and inflammation.

Another thing we know is that people who complain often have higher levels of stress, will have higher levels of inflammation, higher levels of depression etc. I have clients ask me, “What can I do to get out of negative thinking loops?” I always suggest avoiding the vortex of bad news that keeps people at lower levels of feeling, as well as reducing the time spent with people who complain, whine, drain you of energy, and bring you and your thought patterns down. Remove completely, or limit your exposure as best you can, to the negative media/news and other energy vampires in your life. Spend time with individuals who demonstrate gratitude and appreciation for life, and this will increase your health just by helping you feel better about the world and the people around you. Not only will your outlook on life get a boost, but your health can and will improve.

Gratitude is shown to be a point of view that the world is a benevolent place to live in and this benevolence comes from something outside of you. We can always find something to be grateful for, especially in our country. Something as simple as having clean, running, hot water can create a feeling of gratitude. When you focus on strengthening gratitude and other positive feelings in your life rather than giving time and energy to the negativity, you empower not only yourself, but the world around you, attracting more things to be grateful about.

When our beliefs and feelings are directed in this way, every action becomes positive and beneficial to our being. An attitude of gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions that you can bring with you throughout the day to impact your health, your wealth, your happiness, your love… the list goes on and on. I personally enjoy doing a daily dozen gratitude list and writing things down that I’m super grateful for every day, either in the morning or before bed at night. You can also use prayer and meditation to focus on what you’re grateful for. You can write thank you notes to people for whom you are grateful or just send them texts saying that you’re grateful for them. An attitude of gratitude is one of the best emotions to carry around with you daily for your health, wellness and growth.

Ian Hart is a Body-Mind Transformation expert, the creator of EarthFIT Training Systems, co-creator of Back Pain Relief4Life, and founder of beaufortpersonaltrainer.com and MyBackPainCoach.com. Ian and his team help people get into optimal shape in the safest, fastest and most effective way possible, using cutting edge science.