Want to be happier and healthier? Practice being grateful! A huge new study, done in 54 countries, found that grateful people are more fulfilled and live richer lives.

Dr. Robert Emmons is a gratitude expert and professor of psychology. And he says gratitude acts like a psychological immune system – it lowers stress, boosts happiness, improves relationships, and generally makes you feel better about life. And that’s true even when things go wrong. Because gratitude isn’t about ignoring the problems in life – like illness or losing a job – it’s a way of looking at life, and seeking out the positive, no matter how small. And it's a trait that can be cultivated. So, the better you are at focusing on, and appreciating, the good things in your life - the more good things you'll start to see.

But although 90% of people describe themselves as grateful, only half think about what they’re grateful for daily. And even fewer express that gratitude on a regular basis. So, why is there a disconnect between being grateful and expressing it? Well, oddly enough, it happens mostly in our personal relationships.

We have no problem saying “thanks” to a server – 97% of people do. But only 59% of women say “thank you” to their partner! And it may be because women, for the most part, say they don't feel appreciated by their spouse, so they don't express their own appreciation. But men, on the other hand, say they do express their gratitude with their actions, like a cuddle on the couch, or making dinner. But because women are looking for a verbal “thank you” they may miss the signs.

Psychologist Dr. Scott Haltzman wrote The Secrets of Happily Married Women. And he says next time you don't feel appreciated by your spouse, ask yourself, “What can I see that’s proof he cares about me?” Because recognizing those actions can help women feel less frustrated and more grateful themselves.

Lesson Expert

Jennifer Boller

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