Thankfulness / Gratitude

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word grateful as “showing an appreciation of kindness.” Being grateful is an action whereas being thankful is a feeling. While the holidays have looked different this year, especially compared to past years, I reflect on thankfulness and choose to practice gratitude.

The holidays typically bring up an array of emotions, some of which can feel uncomfortable and even painful. Whatever emotions you are experiencing this season, they are OK. Acknowledge them. Sit with them. Process your emotions. Utilize your coping strategies and try practicing gratitude. Research indicates that people who engage in gratitude practices (even during the COVID-19 pandemic) have higher well-being and vitality than those who do not.

At CARE Counseling, I feel thankful for finding balance. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a great tool that identifies eight domains of wellness for optimal health. Domain areas include the following– occupational, emotional, spiritual, environmental, financial, physical, social, and intellectual. I feel thankful for the personal satisfaction and sense of enrichment that I receive at CARE, from the warm, pleasing work environment, sense of community, to the flexibility, benefits, and professional development opportunities. Being surrounded by an awesome team of co-workers, where everyone is recognized for their unique talents and strengths is incredible!

It feels good to be recognized for one’s unique talents and to be appreciated as a person, outside of personal accomplishments. Oftentimes we take so many things for granted–the things and people we are grateful for, qualities within ourselves that are admirable.

Recently we had the opportunity to take the Clifton Strengths. One statistic that I really appreciated hearing was knowing that there is a 1 in 33 million chance of someone having the same five strengths within the same order! We all are wired differently. It is incredible to reflect that each one of us has a unique set of strengths that we bring to the team. It is a beautiful thing to be able to cultivate areas of strengths. I personally find this more empowering than focusing on areas of deficit.

Here are two questions to reflect on not only this holiday season, but throughout the year.

1. What or Who do You Feel Thankful for?

2. What are Ways I Can Express Gratitude?

I really enjoy all the fun expressions of gratitude that take place at CARE Counseling, especially now during a time of increased social isolation. The fact that the leadership team at CARE recognizes the importance of gratitude has a positive effect on productivity and resilience. “when gratitude becomes a regular organizational practice, employees will feel both appreciated and valued” year-round.

This past week, I came across a beautifully decorated “Gratitude Box” which had the following message inside–

“This Gratitude Box will change your life! Write down something every day that you are grateful for…including little things that are taken for granted. Being grateful for the good things in life makes us kinder…happier…and makes us whole. All we need to do is to remember how blessed we are.”

I encourage you to take your feelings of thankfulness and express gratitude as part of a daily lifestyle. Reflect on gratitude when you wake up and before you go to sleep. Notice and express gratitude individually and with loved ones. Check out the following website for an awesome and comprehensive list to try!

Written by: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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