Leadership Lesson – November 2021: How to Practice Gratitude Every Day

November 1, 2021

This month’s leadership lesson is from Karen Little, AHS Targeted Response QII Lead.give thanks graphic

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I am reminded of this quote:

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

These are some of the lessons that gratitude has taught me that, and I will share this with you:

  • Gratitude brings peace and joy. When we think of all that we have accomplished and overcome, we will realize how each day is a blessing.
  • Gratitude brings contentment. Being thankful is the key to contentment when we realize what we have is more than enough.
  • Gratitude helps us to be present. Jim Elliot penned, “Wherever you are, be all there!” That can be challenging at times, but being grateful helps because it opens our eyes to the beauty of nature.

The past two years have been an emotional rollercoaster for each of us. Distressing news, people dying, job losses, rising food prices, higher prices at the pump, the stress of COVID—the list can seem endless if I were to continue. But in the midst of it, we are still here, and we should all be thankful.

How can you show gratitude every day?  By taking time out of our busy lives to pause and reflect on the good moments in our lives. I discovered that the good always outweighs the bad, and there is always something to be grateful for. An attitude of gratitude should be our norm. Why? Because it is a gift that we can freely give away every day.

Willie Nelson said, “When I started to count my blessings, my whole life turned around.”  When I reflect on my own life during this pandemic, I think about my mother being diagnosed with Stage 4 appendiceal cancer and family members fighting COVID. Still, thorough it all I found a reason to be grateful.

Emerson offers a helpful introduction into what practicing gratitude can look like. Gratitude is an emotion similar to appreciation. Positive psychology research has found neurological reasons why so many people can benefit from this general practice of expressing thanks for our lives, even in times of challenge and change.