Choir Notes

Happiness is Expressing Gratitude
From Music and the Spoken Word
Delivered By: Lloyd D. Newell • Program 4393

A common characteristic of happy people is that they feel grateful; even happier, however, are those who express their gratitude. It’s one thing to take stock of blessings silently, to be thankful in your heart; it’s quite another to give voice to those feelings. Recently, social scientists confirmed this observation—they noted a slight increase in the happiness of people who wrote down their feelings of gratitude and a much more significant increase in those who verbally expressed their thanks. Their moods lifted and their overall contentment with life improved.

Imagine how much happier we might feel if we simply made more of an effort to thank people—out loud? To tell them how they have influenced us for good? To share our gratitude more freely and readily—with loved ones or even strangers?

Recently, a woman made great efforts to track down her kindergarten teacher of nearly 50 years ago. Back then, Thelma was a shy girl who spoke little English, but Mrs. Silverman believed in her. Little Thelma went on to earn a PhD and make great contributions as an educator herself. But she never forgot her kindergarten teacher. After years of searching, Thelma was reunited with Mrs. Silverman (now 83 years old) and could finally tell her—in person—how she felt. They talked for three hours, and Thelma expressed profound appreciation for the kindergarten teacher who shaped her life. Mrs. Silverman was overwhelmed. “[It] didn’t just make my year,” she said. “It made my lifetime.”

That’s the power of expressed thanks.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, what about the Giver of all good gifts? What if we made more of an effort to thank God for His goodness—to pray and express our feelings of gratitude out loud? Perhaps that’s why the Psalmist penned this everlasting truth: “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto [His] name.”3

1 See Abby Stevens, “Key to Happiness: Simple Act Makes You Happier Than 2,000 Bars of Chocolate Can,” Deseret News, Sept. 30, 2013, www.deseretnews.com/article/865587370/Key-to-happiness-simple-act-makes-you-happier-than-2000-bars-of-chocolate-can.html?pg=all.
2 In Greg Hardesty, “Santa Ana Unified Leader Thanks Her Teacher,” Orange County Register, Feb. 8, 2012, www.ocregister.com/articles/silverman-339439-mel233ndez-mrs.html.
3  Psalm 92:1.

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