As we approach a very different Thanksgiving where tables won’t be a crowded as in previous years, I imagine that many of us may be having trouble considering what we’re grateful for this year. There is no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging one! Despite the challenges, or maybe because of them, I have found that the year has offered many opportunities for joy and thankfulness: families reunited through quarantine, friendships rekindled over Zoom, more time to get outside or to be creative in our homes…
At Eagle’s Nest we work to create a culture of gratitude where we share our gratitude with each other daily. We hope that our campers and counselors take that practice home with them. Since I practice daily gratitude at camp I find that my gratitudes bubble up quickly, even in difficult times. At this moment, for instance, I’m grateful that since I’m working at home my cat Polly is curled up and purring beside me. Taking a moment to recognize this and be grateful warms my heart.
There are many benefits to practicing gratitude daily: increased feelings of joy and optimism, decreased anxiety, and resiliency to deal with challenges that come our way. It’s very easy to find articles that extol the value of gratitude and scientific studies that back up their claims. Considering the plethora of benefits of gratitude, giving thanks isn’t something that should only happen once year as you get ready to dig into the mashed potatoes; it should be practiced with frequency and intention throughout our lifetimes.
This year when you wake up on Friday morning, still a little full from the fest the day before, I encourage you to take a moment to acknowledge something you are grateful for in that moment. And as the days follow, let gratitude – for the big things like your health and the little things like the sound of rain in the morning – well up in you often.
For more information about strengthening a gratitude practice, check out this article from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
By Paige Lester-Niles