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Thanksgiving a time for gratitude

 

Last updated 11/4/2016 at Noon



The roasted turkey, sweet potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and other pleasant cornucopia of aromas will be permeating our kitchens and throughout our houses. Thanksgiving is in the air!

Along with being thankful for our families, friendships, spiritual gifts and our Bill of Rights, it’s the formal time of year to express our gratitude by snail mail, phone calls or face-to-face interactions to those who have influenced us throughout our lives.

Gratitude – “an appreciation, awareness, thankfulness,” “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Cicero taught “gratitude was the queen of the virtues.” He also added, “There is no duty more indispensable than that of returning a kindness.”

Gratitude is one of those tried and true rules our parents, and readings from a Little Golden Book or other thought-provoking children’s books, instilled into us so we might develop decent manners throughout our lives.

According to University of California, Davis’ Psychology Professor Robert Emmons (“Gratitude Works”), “We need to give thanks and be thankful, just as it’s important to feel respected and connected socially… When people appreciate the goodness they’ve received, they feel compelled to give back.”

What Professor Emmons and his understudies discovered was “Gratitude is important not only because it helps us feel good but also because it inspires us to do good … Grateful people experience higher levels of positive emotions such as; joy, enthusiasm, love, happiness and optimism.”

As a behavior health professional, with a certificate as a Traumatic Stress Specialist, I have found the Mindfulness school of thought, which includes thankfulness, is a positive and tremendous avenue to use when working with traumatized individuals. When my clients reach out to others and thank them for being there when they needed them, my patients often find they are also helping themselves.

After the above university professor was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, she was extremely impressed with his gratitude research findings. Not only was she intrigued with the overall field of positive psychology, she started a personal gratitude or “count your blessings” journal.

Giving thanks doesn’t necessary mean to only focus on an individual who “went beyond the call of duty” but, maybe more importantly, it is often just as significant to take your time to thank a person for their simple act of kindness.

I am encouraging you not to text your gratitude, since this is not a very personal way to thank someone. Plus the majority of people will not be able to decipher your thoughtfulness codes such as: AAYF; AIMP; TYSM; or LYWAMH.

KISS (keeping it simply short). How about using the Mill Creek Donaldson Physical Therapy Clinic’s “Board of Recognition” as a sample? On the bulletin board, for all staff to see and read, are personally written thank you post-it-notes. “I appreciate you” often brings smiles to the receiver’s face. Plus by giving co-workers a written thank you, it re-enforces that all employees are important members of the team.

A simple note of kindness to a peer for her or his achievement could just say, as one of the 76 grateful Donaldson Clinic’s posting for all to read said: “Caron Thanks for coming in early Thursday...”

Darn Right, Thanksgiving is a time for sharing our gratitude. So who will you reach out to with your whole-hearted hand-written or voiced “Thank you for…”?

 

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