By Dr. Lynn Massingale, Co-Founder and Chair, Board of Directors
As we approach Thanksgiving, I’m struck by the disparity in my own actions between what I know and what I do on the topic of giving thanks and expressing gratitude. I know full well how much I have to be thankful for in my personal and professional lives. I’ve studied the psychological and health benefits known to come from being grateful and expressing it, and I even have a sticky note reminder about being grateful on my bathroom mirror that I see every day!
Enjoy the Little Things
In spite of all that, I don’t take the time or make the effort often enough to express my gratitude to those with whom I work, with those who I love in my personal life or with those people with whom I interact on a daily basis and who provide some goods or services for my benefit, usually competently and in good spirit! Robert Brault said, “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
So, I’ve decided to use Thanksgiving 2021 – after all we’ve been through in the last 20 months – as the kick-off date of my new effort to up my game on being thankful, expressing gratitude meaningfully to more people in my life as a matter of routine and not exception. Like all habits, I think that if I do that for a few weeks it will become second nature. I challenge you all to do the same. My only question is – who will benefit more… those to whom I express my gratitude or me for having done it and meant it?
Alongside all of you, I plan to:
- Make expressing gratitude habitual: Efforts to foster gratitude are most effective when they are practiced and encouraged by everyone. Together, let’s make gratitude a part of the everyday experience.
- Maintain authenticity: As important as it is to make expressing gratitude habitual, it’s equally as important to allow each expression of gratitude to be original and genuine depending on who you’re showing it toward and what you’re expressing thanks for.
- Make it a year-round effort: Even though the Thanksgiving holiday sparked my own efforts to be thankful and express gratitude to those in my life, I believe that gratitude will thrive when it’s connected to efforts in a positive, caring culture and focused on building resiliency.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. I am very thankful for clinicians nationwide and all you do and all you mean to so many personally and professionally. Click here to learn more about the importance of gratitude for physical and emotional wellbeing. After all, seeing the good around you is free, and that’s something to be grateful for.
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