There's plenty of evidence showing that spending time in a positive affective state (such as savoring) leads to happiness. Experiencing feelings of joy and pleasure strengthen the ties in your brain's reward circuitry, she said.
And, if we can "shift our lens to be more cognizant of what's happening for real in the space around us and among the people around us, as opposed to what we're worried about, we're set up for more happiness," she said.
While there are as many ways to practice gratitude as there are definitions of the concept, most experts agree that the beauty of gratitude is its simplicity.
"Grateful living is a spiritual practice," said Steindl-Rast, age 88, who calls his method "stop, look, go!"
"Stop, every so often, ever so briefly, so as not to rush through life, but to pay careful attention to the given moment," he said. "This moment is the greatest gift imaginable; it offers us the opportunity to come fully alive here and now."
"Look" means to use your senses to be open to enjoy the moment.
"Suddenly we become aware of countless gifts we used to take for granted," he said. "What we take for granted doesn't give us joy; it does nothing for us."
"Go" means to make full use of a given opportunity. "We do not show our gratitude by saying ‘Thank you!' but by doing something with the gift we receive."
When we we're on that receiving end, there is some preliminary evidence that the benefits of gratitude extend to us as well. Emory University researchers have shown that primates behave differently to each other after being thanked for cooperation, displaying a bond of reciprocity. And when human partners routinely thank each other, they report a greater sense of relationship satisfaction.
Is it easy? No.
"Most of the great things in life are simple and difficult -- yet eminently worth the effort," Steindl-Rast said.