Gratitude is Key to Happiness

Written on Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 at 8:57 pm by Christiane

Gratitude, the emotion of thankfulness and feeling blessed, is one of the essential ingredients for living a good life. One of the simplest tool to increase happiness therefore is to remind yourself regularly of all the people, experiences and things you can be thankful for that they are in your life.

This week, I asked students in my Psychology 101 class for what they will be grateful tomorrow at Thanksgiving. Most answered spontaneously “family, friends, and good food”. However, some students answers revealed life experiences, hardships, and maturity one might not expect in such young people.

One young woman for example told me about her struggles as single mother. She described herself as trouble maker in high school and then being pregnant at age 17. The baby was her wake-up call, and today she is a doting young mother and aspiring nurse. She is thankful for having been able to turn her life around.

A young man told me about his family back in Haiti who is making sacrifices to support his education here in the US. He feels blessed for having his family, and is sad that they can’t celebrate with him.

Another young woman, who has lost her forearm in an accident, simply stated that she is grateful for her health.

Also mentioned by students was gratitude for having a decent life and not being homeless like friends, and an older student mentioned to be grateful for one more Thanksgiving with his parents though their health is failing and they need his assistance a lot.

After listening to the students, I truly feel blessed that I have the good fortune to be grateful for family, friends, and good food.

One Response to “Gratitude is Key to Happiness”

  1. Nick1254367 says:

    Hi! Interesting thoughts! Recently I had my own shot at defining happiness, which aims to be more “scientific” and “objective” (as much as this is possible for a subjective feeling such as happiness): “A person can be considered to have experienced a “happy” moment if the person chooses to re-live it as an end in itself if offered at no cost.”
    For the detailed derivation of this conclusion please have a look at What is happiness? ; What do you think about this definition?
    Thank you, Nick

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