The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and return kindness. I looked it up and this is what the dictionary says “gratitude” is.

It’s much more than these 13 words suggest. I could not find happiness until I figured this one word out. I could not live the life that God wanted me to live without truly having gratitude for the people, things, and talents that he has blessed me with.

We all say we are thankful, but even the dictionary says, “and return kindness." If you’re sitting around waiting for a blessing, or even a prayer to be answered, make sure you are returning kindness in some manner, so your gratitude can be completed, and your happiness can be found. It’s not enough to say it. You must “do” gratitude.

It’s been said that having gratitude for those things in your life that you appreciate will benefit you emotionally and socially. It will also have a positive affect on your career, health, and improve your personality. You will sleep better, your self esteem will increase, your marriage will improve, you’ll have more friends, and you will have happier memories. This is a part of our path to happiness, so you’ll have to dig deep and make sure you’re doing it from the heart and not just saying it.

Remember, nobody is judging you, but you cannot fool God. He knows what is in your heart and if you’re truly appreciative and grateful to him, the people, and the many blessings that he has put into your life. You’ll then be another step closer to that life He intended for you.

It’s crucial, as you will not find complete happiness until you do this.

“Do” gratitude.

Live happy.

Rick Stanfield, a former Missouri State Trooper and entrepreneur who co-founded Sweet Henrietta’s Treats in Santa Rosa Beach, is the author of “I Can And I Will." He can be reached at rickstanfield1@yahoo.com.