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  • Writer's pictureAndi Davison LVT

Gratitude; More Than Just a Thanksgiving Tradition

I’m sure many of you will be able to relate to this tradition...You know, the Thanksgiving “thankful for” tradition, where the feast begins with a trip around the table where everyone shares something they are “thankful for”. I think this is a wonderful tradition and a great way to recognize all of the good that comes our way. Why limit this practice to just one day each year?

Recognizing gratitude for things, people and experiences is a fantastic way to broaden and build positive emotions and relationships. On turkey day and beyond!!

The Oxford dictionary defines thankful as “pleas

ed and relieved”. Whereas grateful is defined as “showing appreciation of kindness”.

In other words, Thankful is a feeling while being grateful is an action.

They both have very important roles in our lives. Gratitude is felt when we appreciate and notice the good in something or someone. It is easy to see why the two terms are often used interchangeably.

Research shows that counting your blessings will increase our life satisfaction, allow us to develop prosocial behavior, encourage better sleep and provide us with more optimism. This increase in positivity, caused by frequent gratitude recognition, will not only benefit us but the people around us as well!

Gratitude fills everyone up!

With the benefits of this practice having been proven over and over again, I can’t help but encourage you to play with this concept in your personal AND professional lives. Implementing thankfulness, appreciation and gratitude each day at work will most certainly bring about the positive benefits I mentioned above. What if your hospital could experience an increase of positive emotion and facilitate growth and value within professional relationships? What if?

Here are three science-based ways that you can boost positive emotions in your hospital through the power of gratitude.

1. Say “Thank-you” and mean it. Sounds simple, but it is oh so valuable. Showing others that you are grateful for them by offering a sincere ‘thank you’ will certainly make them feel valued and appreciated. As a bonus, YOU may also reap the benefits of this kind action. Take the time each day to notice the good around you. Find three different opportunities to recognize a good situation and say “thank you” to people involved. Express a meaningful thank you to your technician for setting up the supplies for the emergency laceration. The spark of positivity will not only make the tech feel great for being valuable to you; but you will feel a boost of energy for sharing the kindness of appreciating them.

2. Create a gratitude board. Yes, I know. I suggest creating boards a lot. I love utilizing this form of interaction at work. They are beautiful, fun and inclusive. They can reach every member of your team on a variety of levels and allow people to express themselves as they see fit. A gratitude board does just this! Dedicate a board in your hospital. Encourage every team member to bring a picture of something they are grateful for. Display these wonderful reminders of appreciation. Seeing your teammates' smiling faces while they snuggle with Scout, conquer the competition with Boston or experience an epic rollercoaster with April with broaden and build positive emotions that are proven to boos work and life satisfaction.

3. End your workday with a gratitude statement. You can choose to do this publicly or privately. I know for me and my team, it was always fun to use the last few moments after rounds to share some things we were grateful for during the shift. Sometimes those things were each other, the development of a skill or even the luck of the full moon. It always seems to start/end the day out on a positive note for everyone.

Keep the concept of gratitude at the front of your mind. It will ensure that the positive benefits from this simple practice boosts appreciation, value and meaning for you and the super teams that you work with every day.

While we can’t have a “sweatpants worthy” turkey dinner each day; we can certainly practice the thankfulness that accompanies this holiday and makes it a favorite!

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