When we get caught up in the grind of day to day living, it can be easy to overlook the simple joys and pleasures that surround us.

Yet, research increasingly points to the power of gratitude, the act of acknowledging and appreciating the good things in our lives.

Cultivating gratitude can be a powerful tool for boosting mental well-being. This week, I thought it might be useful to explain some of the science behind gratitude and tell you some of the practical ways to include it into your daily lives.

Practicing gratitude seems to activate the brain's reward system, leading to a release of dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and well-being.

Practising gratitude can help to:

• Reduce Stress and Anxiety: Focusing on what you're grateful for can shift your perspective away from negative thoughts and worries.

• Improve Sleep: A grateful mind tends to be a calmer mind, promoting better sleep quality.

• Strengthen Relationships: Expressing gratitude to loved ones helps promote stronger bonds and feelings of appreciation.

• Boost Self-Esteem: Recognising the good things in your life, including your strengths and achievements, can enhance your sense of self-worth.

• Increase Resilience: A grateful outlook can help you navigate difficult times by increasing a sense of optimism and hope.

If you’re wondering how to go about it, here are a few suggestions to include gratitude in your daily life:

• The Gratitude Journal: Dedicate a few minutes each day to write down three things you're grateful for, big or small. This simple act can shift your focus towards positive aspects of your life.

• The Gratitude Walk: Take a walk around where you live, perhaps a local park, focusing on the beauty of your surroundings. Notice the details – the chirping of birds, the scent of flowers, the warmth of the sun. Silently acknowledge your gratitude for these simple pleasures.

• The Gratitude Shower: While showering, take a moment to appreciate the feeling of warm water on your skin, the cleansing lather, or the luxurious scent of your shower products. Gratitude can be found in the most mundane of routines, when we look for it, it is all a matter of shifting our mindset.

• The Gratitude Sharing: Express your gratitude to loved ones. Tell a friend you appreciate their support, thank your partner for making dinner, or write a note expressing your gratitude to a family member, or even a colleague.

n Martin Furber is a therapist qualified in various modalities and an Instructor Member of Mental Health First Aid England wellbeing@martinfurber.com