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Say thanks for small gestures to be happier

Showing gratitude for the 'little things' in relationships can boost feelings of happiness and romance, researchers said today.

Appreciating daily gestures has the ability to add meaning to the lives of both people and helps the relationship flourish.

Experts from the University of North Carolina studied how couples behave when responding to nice gestures.

They found that simply doing something for somebody else does not automatically generate feelings of gratitude.

Instead, people can feel indebted or not notice the exchange at all, especially if things have become routine.

Yet those who respond in a positive way and show gratitude can expect greater feelings of satisfaction about the relationship.

"Men and women with grateful partners felt more connected to the partner and more satisfied with the romantic relationship," said the authors, writing in the journal Personal Relationships.

They concluded: "The little things may make a big difference within the daily lives of individuals in romantic relationships.

"Gratitude may help to turn 'ordinary' moments into opportunities for relationship growth, even in the context of already close, communal relations."