Happiness and Specific Gratitude

Last week I suggested making gratitude a more regular part of your day, so as to increase happiness (yours and that of those around you) in 2014.  Jeremy Adam Smith wrote an article on The Greater Good website (https://greatergood.berkeley.edu) that outlined six habits of highly grateful people.  All are good, but one struck me as particularly helpful.  The most meaningful expressions of gratitude aren’t vague.  “You’re so awesome!” is certainly nice to hear but hearing specifics around it make it more genuine.  The best thank you’s identify one (or more) of these three things: the giver’s intentions (“Touchscreen gloves so my fingers don’t get frostbitten when I use my phone outside!  Thank you!”), the cost to the giver (“I know how much time it must have taken you to Photoshop this photo for me, and how busy you are these days – thank you.  It’s perfect.”), and the value of the benefit of the gift (“I really appreciate you always offering to take the kids when you know I have a ton of errands to do.  Without you I’d get half my chores done.  Thank you.”)   Give it a shot.  It takes a little bit more effort, and the results are beyond worth it.

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