11 songs to make you more grateful (even on the worst days)

On horrible days, these are the songs you need.

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  • Many of us have come to the conclusion, some with a little help from Soul Pancake, that practicing gratitude improves our lives in all sorts of ways. (And let's face it, gratitude takes practice.)

  • It's so legit Harvard has even studied it. One of the easiest ways to practice gratitude is to listen to songs that are full of it. (Plus listening to music has been correlated to increased happiness, sense of wellbeing and ability to pay attention.)

  • So the next time you need to remember the good things in life, check out these 11 songs. 1. Life is Wonderful - Jason Mraz

  • 2. Who I am Today - Jason Mraz

  • Anyone who's heard Jason Mraz knows he's one grateful guy. Both of these songs have great live versions you can see below. In fact, Who I am Today wasn't recorded as part of an album and was only performed live. It's well worth the listen.

  • 3. The Heart of Life - John Mayer

  • Even though our lives are often heartbreaking this song highlights how truly good life is. It portrays love and hope defeating darkness and pain, and is the perfect song to list to when bad things that happen in the world.

  • We will all experience pain and loss. We may not always understand things outside of our control, but I truly believe, "The Heart of Life is Good!"

  • 4. Prayer of Thanksgiving

  • Written by an anonymous composer in the Netherlands in 1625-26, Prayer of Thanksgiving is a beautiful hymn that shows the message of gratitude is not a temporary one.

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  • 5. Song for My Father - Sarah McLachlan

  • For those of us who are lucky to have parents who put countless hours of time, support, and love into raising us there aren't really words to express our thankfulness.

  • This song is a good start. Even when we start to relate as adults we still don't tell them enough how much we appreciate all they have done for us.

  • 6. Kind and Generous - Natalie Merchant

  • This song tells the story of a great friendship. Natalie Merchant blends her soulful singing and lyrics into a great tribute of thanks to those in her life who have given the gift of friendship.

  • 7. Blessed - Elton John

  • Children bring light and curiosity into the world. We should all be thankful for their bright inquisitive nature. This song is a beautiful tribute to all children. Elton John describes a future full of hope, love, and thankfulness. Children make the world better.

  • 8. Our House - Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

  • The feeling of home this song portrays will make you thankful for the simple things. Home is about the people in your life and how they make you feel, not physical wealth or possessions.

  • 9. Blessed - Brett Dennen

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  • I love the simplicity of the message in this song. It conveys a feeling of pure joy and thankfulness for life.

  • 10. Thank You - Dido

  • Although the singer is sad and frustrated, having one person in her life that she loves reminds her life is not so bad. It's easy to be bogged down by hardships. Finding one thing to be grateful for turns that perspective around, even when life seems too troubled.

  • 11. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

  • This last song sums up a lot of the other points touched on in previous songs. Listening to Louis' conviction when he sings makes it hard to forget the awesome beauty in the world. Nat King Cole lived through turbulent times. Despite what he faced, he was able to be grateful.

  • Put these songs on in the background, call your parents to say thank you, kiss your spouse and kids and be mindful of the reasons you're grateful.

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Bryn McDougal lives with her husband and three children. She sings with Utah Opera and is a database analyst for Cafe Rio. As the daughter of an English teacher she enjoys writing, especially satire.

Website: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/bryny

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