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"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." -- William Arthur Ward

The most common word of appreciation that we use when we feel gratitude towards someone is THANK YOU. While I'm not an etymologist (a person who studies the origin of words), I find it really interesting that in English, “thank you” derives from “think.” It originally meant, “I will remember what you did for me.” Curiously, the French merci derives from “mercy,” as in begging for mercy; by saying it you are symbolically placing yourself in your benefactor's power. Surprisingly to some, the Russian Spasibo (спасибо) comes from two words: spasi (спасать/спасти = to save; to rescue) and Bog (Бог = G-d). The Spanish gracias is derived from the Latin word gratus, which had meanings such as "pleasing," "beloved," "agreeable" and "favorable". And one more: Portuguese obrigado follows the form of the English “much obliged.”

However interesting, knowing the origin of the word "thank you" won't do much for your wellbeing. Yet, expressing gratitude will! Some call it a modern day wonder drug because scientists are finding that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:

  • Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure

  • Higher levels of positive emotions

  • More joy, optimism, and happiness

  • Acting with more generosity and compassion

  • Feeling less lonely and isolated

Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that gratitude has two key components:

1) "It’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received."

2) “We recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

So go ahead, find a way to practice gratitude today. Be creative!

Not sure where to begin? Start by noting and best expressing in writing and/or to others THREE GOOD THINGS you are thankful for - anything from the mundane to the magnificent!

There is strong evidence that this practice works to increase happiness - yours for sure and likely those around you!

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