Psychological research has unearthed a completely unsensational truth: Expressing gratitude makes you happier.
What the research shows, I’m told, is that it doesn’t matter to whom one gives thanks. Just expressing it does the trick.
Of course, offering thanks to people you really care about, or who helped you in some extraordinary way, must make some other kind of difference. Still, there’s more than a little sense in being thankful for the people you walk by on the street — and expressing it here:
- That fellow, the other day? He didn’t mug me. Ah, indifference! It’s better than malevolence.
- That nice woman with the odd hair, some time back? She gave an encouraging smile when I dropped something. She didn’t have to say anything. I understood: “We all drop things, now and then.” No biggie. A little kindness goes a long way.
- All the people who took my money and gave me what I wanted in return. Without you, my life would be impoverished. Whether you are selling me fruits or nuts or lattes or bread, I live because you work. And I work, too, to help you live.
In one of my favorite movies, Brazil, the Robert De Niro character encourages our embattled hero with a simple “We’re all in this together.” Actually, much of the time we’re all in this separately. But the connections we make are vitally important, and work remarkably well — for more than our feelings.
Even in tough times.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.