It’s Thanksgiving break. Last week was the college’s annual Thanksgiving dinner, and our students are already home or on the road to be with family. Our faculty are spending the weekend with family, too.
What are the OT faculty thankful for this year?
- Thanksgiving break with family
- A year of good health for my family
- The healing power of forgiveness – of ourselves and others
- My son, my best accomplishment – bar none
- Energetic, insightful students
- An environment that supports critical thinking
- The gift of life
- My kind, compassionate, and giving daughter who is making a life based on helping others
But what is Thanksgiving? A day to gather with family and/or friends and stuff ourselves with turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pie and other delicious foods. A holiday once a year when people take time to be thankful and focus on gratitude.
According to psychologists who study gratitude, those who consciously engage in gratitude exercises (e.g. journals, lists, etc.) experience the following:
- more optimism
- higher energy
- more alertness
- less physical complaints or symptoms
- more progress towards personal goals
- better sleep duration and quality of sleep
- positive moods
- more likely to offer support to others
- more social connectedness and stronger relationships
- positive attitudes towards school (for children)
- more resiliency
So gratitude appears to have potential to significantly improve our physical and emotional health and well-being. Maybe it DOES mean more than stopping to be thankful once a year. How do you incorporate gratitude into your daily life? How can we encourage our clients/patients and even our co-workers to engage in grateful thinking?
We challenge you to incorporate gratitude into your daily occupations – for yourself and for your patients/clients. The last paragraph has some additional suggestions, so keep reading. Happy Thanksgiving from the Etown College OT Department!
Strategies to focus on gratitude: Consciously focus on the day-to-day world around you and look for the good or the positive. You may want to start a daily gratitude journal online or on paper – jot down three positive things from each day. You can have a gratitude bulletin board or white board in your workplace or at home to post things for which you are grateful, or maybe write them pieces of paper and put them in a jar to review at the end the year. Consciously focus on thinking about the positive or good aspects of a situation – no matter how small or trivial it may seem. Send thank you notes or emails to family, friends, or co-workers to acknowledge or appreciate something they have done or to acknowledge a positive trait or quality; or better yet – compliment them in person. You can find more information and tips here.