As we gear up for Thanksgiving, many may be more thoughtful about counting blessings. But gratefulness can be beneficial throughout the year, and tech makes it easy.

We have the same tradition as many families at Thanksgiving of each person taking a turn saying what they are thankful for. Inevitably, people will say football, turkey and a lot of mentions of family. While these expressions are lovely, if we keep an attitude of gratitude year-round, we may be able to think more deeply about what brings us happiness.

Making gratitude part of your weekly or even daily routine can bring many benefits to your life. Glenn Fox is an expert in the science of gratitude at the University of Southern California. Besides health benefits like better sleep and lower blood pressure, Fox says gratitude is also linked to social bonding and stress relief.

“It’s very similar to working out, in that the more you practice, the better you get,” Fox told USC News. “The more you practice, the easier it is to feel grateful when you need it.”

Gratitude helps people feel more positive, deal with adversity and build strong relationships, according to Harvard Health Publishing. In general, “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.”

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A helpful app to help you consider daily thankfulness is aptly called Gratitude. You choose a time each day to be nudged to write something. If nothing immediately comes to mind, you can ask for help and the app gives you a prompt like “Write about someone who has mentored you and taught you important lessons,” or “What excited you about the future?”

Users can add a photo in the free version (and multiple in the paid version), choose a background color and that’s it. The app also has Daily Zen, Affirmations and a digital Vision Board.

You aren’t required to log-in, it’s completely ad-free and it’s one of the few gratitude apps that is truly free of charge. You can decide to pay for a subscription (click Skip when the options come up if you’d like to stick with the free version), which allows users to search their journal entries and export them.

Your entries are completely private. 

For those wanting to ensure a spiritual component is involved as they focus on gratitude, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has a gratitude challenge. This is taking place the month of November on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can text ‘gratitude2021’ to 84576 to receive daily messages to help you cultivate thankfulness. Each week focuses on a different aspect of gratitude, including prayer and relationships. 

If you follow the Diocese on social media, you can also see the gratitude prompts there along with scriptures that point to thankfulness. Even if you don’t write down your thoughts, these texts and posts can be great daily reminders to “think thanks.”

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The first text prompt I received included this question and suggestion, “Is a difficult situation making it hard for you to feel grateful? Talk with God about it. Ask Him to show you how He has stayed with you through this trial.”

Texting is an easy way to get the whole family involved in showing more gratitude. For those with phones, you could text them a gratitude prompt each day and save their responses to write down or print out. Younger children may receive a leaf or feather-shaped piece of paper each day to write on.

Then as everyone waits for the turkey to bake on Thanksgiving, the family could use these piles of gratitude leaves or feathers to participate in craft time. Glue the thankfulness leaves to a paper tree or tie them to live branches. You could use the feathers to easily make a turkey’s fan. These will be wonderful conversation starters and even something each person can take home with them, along with leftovers.

Here are some text prompt ideas to start you off:

1. Which food do you think is most delicious?

2. What is your favorite book?

3. Which relative is the funniest?

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4. What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

5. What is something that makes you smile?

Gratitude helps people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. Being grateful “helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature or a higher power,” according to Harvard Health.

Start your journey toward daily gratitude now and reap the rewards for the rest of your life.

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