My favorite part of this commercial from TD Ameritrade was their facial expressions. It's that moment when the look of shock, then awareness happens, and they realize that something incredible is happening -just for them.

Watching this was the highlight of my day. And, props go to TD Ameritrade for creating this commercial. What a great example of demonstrating true gratitude.

Gratitude helps us gain perspective

When we feel grateful, we acknowledge the goodness in our lives. We recognize that the source of goodness lies partially outside of ourselves. As a result, gratitude connects us to something larger than ourselves.

I came across this quote almost 20 years ago when I was living in Germany: "The deep roots of discouragement can never be found in a grateful heart."

This quote rang true then and still rings true today.

When we feel discouraged and overwhelmed, reminding ourselves of "the good things" or "positive forces" that are at play around us, helps us shift our mindset from discouraged or depressed to one of gratitude.

Gratitude does not eliminate heartache and grief. Loss of loved ones, relationships ending, tragic and heartbreaking events, such as those in Paris recently, all appropriately call for a time of grief and pain.

Gratitude helps us appreciate and honor each moment of every lifewhile experiencing pain.

When we become thankful for every moment, regardless of the grief or pain we feel, we begin to understand peace.

What's amazing is the transformational shift towards love that people find as they face grief and loss.

Even more amazing is being a bystander, watching as gratitude broadens perspectives, and deepens appreciation for the beautiful and inspiring moments, however small or short those moments are in comparison.

Gratitude teaches us that things will not always go our way and assures us that no matter what we go through something good may be found within it.

We long to feel appreciated

Few of us are exempt from the deep longing to feel appreciated. We need confirmation that we are loved. We need to know that our day to day efforts to "be and do better" are understood by those close around us.

Mark Twain once said, "I can live for two months on a good compliment."

We can all relate to this. We feel great when we receive genuine gratitude from others. What this quote doesn't say is that the giver of gratitude also basks in the joy of human connection.

With each genuine compliment given, an emotional trust is built and human bonds are strengthened.

Numerous positive psychology studies have found that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel positive emotions and relish good experiences, which improve all facets of our mental and physical health.

Start the day by practicing gratitude

I'm the first to say, this is going to take some work for me- especially when facing adversity or just simply having a bad day. I'm looking forward to making this a stronger point of focus each morning. Instead of dreading the alarm clock reminding me of the next work out, I'm going to take a few quiet moments and reflect on the countless good people in my life.

Life can be about us and what we want, or we can devote ourselves to lives of gratitude, service and human connection. Even in tragedy, gratitude is possible.

"Gratitude opens the heart and unleashes the true power of human kindness. Gratitude silences egos and destroys the seeds of selfishness."-Anonymous

This article was originally published on Smarter Parenting. It has been republished here with permission.

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