Giving Thanks

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                         Giving Thanks
                         Sandra Tunajek, CRNA, DNP                               tude can increase happi-
                         CPIA Consultant                                         ness levels by around 25
                                                                                 percent, and cultivating
                                   racias, arigato, kam ouen, grazie, merci,     gratitude brings other

                         G         danke, thank you. These simple words have
                                   been spoken throughout history in civiliza-
                           tions around the world. No matter where you live
                                                                                 physical and mental
                                                                                 health effects. Gratitude
                                                                                 deepens an individual’s
                           or how you might pronounce it, the phrase is an       sense of interconnected-
                           expression of appreciation and gratitude.             ness and increases one’s
          As we celebrate the Thanksgiving season, most of us give some          sense of personal worth.
      thought to being grateful. However, those thoughts may be brief and            Seligman has investi-
      transient as we focus more on the tantalizing smells and tastes of a       gated factors that
      hearty meal, fun with friends and relatives, parades, or the football      contribute to positive
      game that dominates the day.                                               emotional health. His
          All of us have something to be thankful for. Yet, in the busy          work led to one of the
      routine of our days, we often take it all for granted. There is so much    fastest growing areas of psychological research: “positive psychology.”
      going on that we simply do not take the time to stop and think about       Seligman and his colleagues have shown that individuals who have a
      being grateful.                                                            high level of life satisfaction (happiness) are less likely to have
          Today we are trying to go faster and faster and are more stressed      psychological or social problems, less likely to feel stressed, and more
      than ever before. We have deadlines, heavy work demands, bosses,           likely to enjoy robust physical health. The researchers have identified
      projects, pressures, and family problems. We start our day with a          key factors associated with individuals who report high levels of life
      quick cup of coffee, immerse ourselves in high-tech, rapid communi-        satisfaction. Five are particularly important: optimism, zest for life,
      cations, and rush home to a busy family schedule and too little sleep.     curiosity, the ability to love and be loved, and gratitude.
          We live in a culture of advances and opportunities for education,          Studies indicate that those who practice gratitude tend to be more
      technology, communication, medicine, and industry. Yet, these advan-       creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger
      tages come with greater stress, increasing self-expectations, and pres-    immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those
      sure for success and achievement.                                          who don’t practice gratitude. Methods of practicing gratitude include
          Pressure is beneficial when it motivates, encourages change, or        keeping a daily journal, prayer, giving back through service to others,
      inspires. Ambition, dissatisfaction with the status quo, and a desire to   meditation, and being optimistic.
      improve our lives and those of our children are profoundly American
      traits. These fundamental goals drove the first settlers to our shores     Gratitude and Resilience
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