Column: Giving thanksNovember 24, 2021
By CALLIE SANDERS
Youth First, Inc.
Somehow, here we are. November is flying by, and we’re in the season of Thanksgiving.
Being thankful and appreciative for what is received, tangible or intangible, is an example of gratitude. By acknowledging the good things in life, people usually recognize that sources of goodness can exist both inside and outside of themselves. Gratitude helps people connect to something larger and can help them appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new.
Although it may sound silly at first, this mental state grows stronger with time and practice. Studies support an association between well-being and gratitude, resulting in fewer doctor’s visits, taking better care of self, and improved relationships.
For example, a study of couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partners felt more positive towards each other and more comfortable expressing concerns related to their relationship.
Workplace gratitude also comes with great benefits. Showing gratitude in the workplace costs nothing and only requires minimal time. This can lead to employee morale and better performance. Leaders can also create an environment where everyone is responsible for showing gratitude to ensure all are recognized.
In a recent study by the American Psychological Association, researchers found that 93% of employees are motivated to do their best at work and 88% reported being more engaged when they feel valued by their employer. Only 21% of the polled group said they were considering searching for new employment in the upcoming year.
Another benefit of practicing gratitude at work is “the spillover effect,” which has the power to enrich other aspects of our lives outside of the office. With gratitude, many people experience greater satisfaction in life, reduced stress, and a healthier outlook, physically and mentally.
Lastly, here are a few simple ways to start cultivating more gratitude.
1. Write or email a thank-you note. This can help nurture and strengthen relationships with others. You can decide how often to send a note of gratitude. Do not forget to write to yourself!
2. Keep a gratitude journal. This will help boost happiness and better coping for life’s challenges.
3. Take time to meditate. Practice mindfulness by focusing on what you are grateful for today.
4. Say a prayer. Prayer can help cultivate gratitude.
5. Mentally thank someone. Think about someone who has done something nice for you and mentally thank that person.
Life brings many unexpected twists and turns. There’s no better way to tackle that stress and show yourself and others love than spreading a little gratitude along the way.
Callie Sanders, LSW, is a Youth First Social Worker at Owensville, Haubstadt, and Fort Branch Community Schools in Gibson County. Youth First, Inc. is a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening youth and families. Youth First provides 78 Master’s level social workers to 105 schools in 12 Indiana counties. Over 60,000 youth and families per year are served by Youth First’s school social work and after school programs that prevent substance abuse, promote healthy behaviors, and maximize student success. To learn more about Youth First, visit youthfirstinc.org or call 812-421-8336.
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