Your body and mind will thank you for take an extra minute to reflect on what you’re grateful for when you sit down to at the Thanksgiving table.

A friend made you laugh with a text message. You’re going on vacation next month. Your cat likes you. Your team made the playoffs. Your family makes you feel needed. When you take a minute to remember all the good things in your life, no matter how big or small they may be, it can pay off big time for your health.

Here are 6 of the proven ways that it does:

1. Gratitude is a stress reliever.

When you’re feeling anxious and tired, instead of numerating your woes, try counting your blessings instead. Numerous studies have shown that simply by remembering the positive things in the world around you and in your own life can help boost levels of feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine.

2. Gratitude is a natural pain reliever.

Move over Advil. One study found that those who were more grateful were less likely to report feeling aches and pains. Try it. You have nothing to lose.

3. Gratitude helps you sleep better.

Have you heard of a gratitude journal? The idea is that you write down a few things you’re grateful for every night before going to bed. One study found that those who did this for a week said they had more restful nights. The researchers theorize that the practice helps calm your mind.

4. Gratitude keeps your blood pressure in check.

It’s likely a side effect or reduced stress. Whatever the reason, those who practice gratitude have a 16 percent lower diastolic blood pressure and a 10 percent lower systolic blood pressure than those who don’t.

5. Gratitude boosts your immune system.

Next time you feel a cold coming on, take a few minutes to appreciate the good things in your life. A study showed that those who are more optimistic have stronger immune systems; and optimism and gratitude go hand in hand.

6. Gratitude makes you happier.

When you focus on what you have instead of what you don’t, you’re less likely to be depressed. Gratitude keeps you focused on the present, instead of worrying what might be.

If you are in the Los Angeles area and are looking for exceptional care from some of the top physicians in the world, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment.

By Anne Fritz