by: Lawrence Earl, MD
November 22, 2021

From our friends at Trestletree and special thanks to Becky Parker, PhD, for sharing —

The week of Thanksgiving. A time to be thankful. A time to pause and count our blessings. A time to connect with others. Yet, the stressors of life don’t stop this week. For our patients, our coworkers, our family, our friends, and even ourselves, life continues to be stressful and messy for some of us at this time. 

However, hope remains alive through gratitude. Stress can narrow how we see the world and strain our ability to cope effectively. When we focus on what we have and are thankful for these things, our world reopens. Research has shown that gratitude can have many benefits to our health. Grateful people can better manage stress and tend to sleep better, eat healthier, and exercise more. 

Gratitude can be practiced anywhere, at any time, without requiring much time. However, it does take practice before it becomes a habit. So, take time every day to practice gratitude.  


Ways to practice gratitude: 

  • Ink it: At the start of your day and at the end of your day, list in a designated space (e.g., phone app, notebook) three to five things (or more) that bring you joy or make you smile. This can be a great way to start the day in a positive mood and end your day the same way. 
  • Think it: Throughout the day, take time to notice your surroundings and recognize the different things that help you. For example, the kind gesture from a coworker, a chair that provides comfort, or arms that allow you to hold your pet. 
  • Say it: Tell others how much you appreciate them. Pick up the phone, meet a friend for coffee, or send a text to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you. Stay connected to others.
  • Show it: In addition to telling, show others how much you appreciate them. Thank the person who delivers meals. Leave a thank you card in the mailbox for your mail carrier. Run errands or do odd jobs for someone who has shown you kindness. Smile and wave to people you see during your day to show you care. Volunteer your time to local charities. Share your talents with others.
  • Do it: Practice gratitude toward yourself by practicing self-care every day. Get good sleep, stay active, and eat healthy. Set aside time each day to do something that brings you great joy, such as reading a good book, going for a hike, or working on a hobby. 
  • Allow it: Give yourself and others grace to struggle and have bad days. Recognize that you are not a superhero. You are a human being and are doing the best that you can. By giving yourself grace, you can cut yourself some slack and feel better. Giving yourself grace can also lead you to extend grace and compassion to others. 

Today and every day, find creative ways to remind yourself of your gratitude and to show this to others!


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