Happiness and the Practice of Gratitude

“Thanks for cooking dinner tonight. Thank you for taking out the trash. Thanks for saving me a parking spot. Thanks for driving today. I’ll drive the next time we run to the store.”

These are common statements in my home. A meal does not pass by where my partner or I doesn’t thank the other person for taking time to cook dinner. We express gratitude for the effort regardless of whether the meal was burnt, bland or had too much garlic. Decades of psychological research emphasizes that it important to thank your partner for both tiny and large acts of kindness in order for the relationship to strengthen and maintain itself.

Lately, I began evaluating whether saying “thank you” is an automatic response or whether I experience gratitude at a deeply personal level. A level that is both meaningful and genuine. A sense of thanks for life as it is in this moment in which you are sincerely grateful for relationships, personal accomplishments, health, happiness or friendships. This visceral feeling of gratitude brings peace and calmness to the mind and spirit. It also connects you more deeply and intimately to your loved ones as you become more grateful for their presence and influence on your life. I encourage you to take a closer look at what you are grateful for in your life at this very moment. Maybe you are grateful that your partner prepared dinner or maybe you are grateful that your partner has entered your life and the two of you are sharing life’s journey together. Experience this gratitude within yourself and feel the calmness and happiness it brings to you. And, if you are ever so daring, express this gratefulness to those around you.