Gratitude sounds simple, but it isn’t always easy to put into practice. Why? Simply put, we’re busy. Hitting pause doesn’t come easily for most of us. We polled our physicians, nurses, surgeons and staff to talk about gratitude, why it matters and how they find room to incorporate it into their filled-to-the-brim schedules.
Here’s what they had to say.
Start small. “Gratitude puts you in the mindset that every day is a gift, so emotions such as envy or jealousy drop by the wayside. There is appreciation for simply waking up and seeing the sunlight one more time.”
Focus. “We have to intentionally practice gratitude. The default human condition is to see the negative. That’s good — it has kept the human race alive and thriving. But we have to change our default thinking from ‘fight or flight’ to slow down and give room for being grateful. There is a lot of power in writing these things down. Start small and simple and then get more big picture. Spending more time focusing on what we are grateful for can help overpower the negative thoughts upon which our brain wants to place our default focus.”
Say “thank you” (and mean it). “We know from positive psychology research that practicing gratitude is associated with greater overall happiness and reduced depression. Research in sports psychology has also shown that gratitude can increase an athlete’s self-esteem, which can contribute to a stronger athletic performance. The easiest way to express gratitude is simply by saying, “thank you!” Research actually shows that even the act of expressing gratitude internally shows the same benefit but of course, it’s always nice to say “thank you” to the person you are grateful toward.”
Show your appreciation. “It is human nature for people to focus on the negatives in life on a regular basis. If we could change our outlooks on life to see the glass half full instead of half empty, we might reduce the amount of stress we endure. Consider writing a thank you note to an employee for a recognized action that was well done. Once in a while, get lunch for someone or bring cookies to say thanks for all you do.”
Always look for joy and hope. “Gratitude is good for you because it opens the door to joy and hope in every circumstance. We can show gratitude by: Thanking God each day for His unfailing love. Counting all the positive things in our lives, even when we are hurting. Looking for opportunities to unselfishly give hope and help to others.”