Gratitude is certainly an emotion that’s worth cultivating and it is something that can be cultivated. Studies have repeatedly shown that we can train things sometimes thought of as hard-wired or pre-set, like our gratitude, optimism and enthusiasm. One study has also shown that 25% of participants felt happier, after practicing a little gratitude over a 10-week period. Here are 15 things to try…

1. 2-minute exercise
Think of three things that you are grateful for: that benefit you and without which your life would be poorer. Then, if you’ve got time, you can think about the causes for these good things.

2. Keep a gratitude journal
Sit down, daily, and write about the things for which you are grateful. Start with whatever springs to mind and work from there. Try not to write the same thing every day but explore your gratefulness.

3. Remember the bad
The way things are now may seem better in the light of bad memories. Don’t forget the bad things that have happened, the contrast may encourage gratefulness.

4. Ask yourself three questions
Choose someone you know, then first consider what you have received from them, second what you have given to them and thirdly what trouble you have caused them. This may lead to discovering you owe others more than you thought.

5. Pray
Whether you are Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim or atheist, a ritualised form of giving thanks may help increase gratitude.

6. Use your senses
80 of people say they are thankful for their health. If so, then get back in touch with the simple human fact of being able to sense what is out there: use your vision, touch, taste and smell to experience the world, and be thankful you can.

7. Use visual reminders
Two big obstacles to being grateful are simply forgetting and failing to be mindful. So leave a note of some kind reminding you to be grateful. It could be a post-it, an object in your home or another person to nudge you occasionally.

8. Think grateful thoughts
Called ‘automatic thoughts’ or self-talk in cognitive therapy, these are the habitual things we say to ourselves all day long. What if you said to yourself: “My life is a gift”. “Every day is a surprise”.

9. Be grateful to your enemies
It’ll take a big creative leap to be thankful to the people who you most despise. But big creative leaps are just the kind of things likely to set off a change in yourself.

10. Appreciate your partner
Gratitude can work like a kind of glue for your relationship. Saying thanks for the small things that partners do for each other can work wonders. It is especially true if they are everyday acts that might often go unnoticed. Better still, do something to show it.

11. Credit others with your achievements
We all like to take credit for our own achievements. But when you think about it, are they really all our own achievements? Did we not receive a little help along the way from others? Everyone likes to hear that their advice was helpful or that it was their assistance that helped you over the line. Don’t be shy. Let them know they helped.

12. The gratitude list
Listing gratitude is an easy way to boost the positive emotion of gratitude. Do it anytime you like, in as much or as little detail as you like. In fact, no need to write down, just take a moment now to think of one or two things you feel thankful for.

13. Use body language to thank someone
We’ve all given someone a ‘thanks’ that was less than enthusiastic, perhaps bordering on sarcastic. So, the next time you say thanks, do it with style. Using body language is the easiest way to boost a thank you up from humdrum to heartening. Lean in, smile and make sure you are looking them in the eye. Say thank you like you really mean it.

14. The gratitude letter
This is towards the more hardcore end of gratitude. Try writing a gratitude letter to someone who has never been properly thanked. (Better that it is an actual letter; a gratitude email doesn’t hit the same high notes.) Tell them how much you appreciate what they have done for you and how much it means. They will feel great receiving it (apart from anything else, who gets handwritten letters any more?) and you will feel great sending it.

15. Repeat and explore
Repeat any, all or none of these exercises at regular intervals. If it’s none, because they don’t work for you, then invent your own, or reconnect with an existing way of practicing gratefulness which is personal to you. The more you can keep at it, the more likely it is to become a habit.