In the season of Thanksgiving when many people are preparing to gather together with friends and family to give thanks, I imagine that many of us have been spending time reflecting on the many things for which we are grateful. After many years at Eagle’s Nest, a place that cultivates and frequently celebrates gratitude, I find that my gratitudes bubble up quickly. At this moment I’m grateful for the late afternoon autumn sun that’s shining through my window, warming my cheeks and illuminating the leaves on the tree outside. At camp we share our gratitude with each other daily and hope that our campers and counselors take that practice home with them.
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