Or your dad. Your brother. Your sister. Your grandparents.
Think of someone who makes you happy or influences you? Have someone in mind? Great. Now watch this video.
The Science of Happiness - An Experiment in Gratitude
A few years ago, The Wall Street Journal had an article about feelings of gratitude. Research found that people who maintain an "attitude of gratitude" tend to be happier and healthier than those who don't.
SoulPancake, a new media company co-created by Rainn Wilson (Yes, Dwight Schrute from The Office), called a few people into their "lab," and simply asked them to "think of someone who was really influential in their life," and write about them. The participants called in were of different ages with different backgrounds, and they all had put down a lot of different reasons for the why they wrote about the person they wrote about. SoulPancake then asked the participants to call the people they thought of, and tell them what they wrote down.
A young man called his mother to tell her that "she is a very hard worker... she keeps me going..." A different man even wrote about his professor. After this experience, those who expressed their gratitude, whether by writing it down or calling the person and telling them, saw their happiness levels increase significantly.
I was really stressed about meeting academic deadlines, and I came across the video online.After I watched that video for the first time, I made sure to call my parents to thank them for all the sacrifices they've made for me to be able to attend IU. Not only was I happier, but I slept easier. I've been doing this every day since.
So if you're having a bad day or whatever it is, express your gratitude and appreciation. Whether it's calling your mom and telling her how much you appreciate all that does for you, emailing your professor to thank him/her for giving the class a 5-point curve on the last exam, leaving a "thank you" note for a custodian who works hard, or just simply showing your appreciation to your friend's presence, taking 5 minutes out of your day to show a little gratitude goes a long way. It'll not only make your day, but it'll make someone else's too.
As Dr. Steve Maraboli, bestselling author and behavioral science academic says, "If you want to find happiness, find gratitude."