- Phoenix Medley
Finding Gold in Gratitude
Updated: Dec 9, 2021
This time of year is generally known as the time of gratitude. I can soundly say that I am thoroughly grateful for Thanksgiving turkey and holiday gifts every year! The holiday season is often a wonderful time, full of good food and family reunions. As well, there are wonderful benefits to practicing gratitude daily, not just during the holiday season.
A handful of studies document the effect thankfulness can have on one’s mood and mindset. Harvard Health Publishing mentions a study conducted by psychologists Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough. Two groups were asked to journal about the events of their day for 10 weeks.
The first group, we’ll call them group A, wrote about things for which they felt grateful, while the second, group B, wrote about things that frustrated them. At the end of the 10 weeks, group A reported being more optimistic. It was even said that “[s]urprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.”
The positive effects of a thankful mindset are clear, but if you’re not convinced, here are some firsthand accounts of gratefulness at work.
I have strong memories of my mother and father writing out thoughtful notes and prayers and placing them into a glass box. The notes were small, a few words at most, but they had a profound effect on their mindset. My mother said.
I’m a member of my school's literary and arts magazine, and we do something similar. We call it the Shoutout Board. It is a place for us to express our gratitude for other members of our staff. Emma-Jade Cantrell, our Editor-In-Chief, has this to say about the Shoutout Board:
Something small and attainable such as a board or box gives you the ability to be grateful anywhere. You don’t have to pull out an entire journal, just a sticky note or scrap piece of paper.
One of the best ways to express gratitude is through giving back. This could be on a familial level, like my friend, Nico Nasse, who volunteers to wash the dishes for his mom. He says,
There are many other ways to show and live your gratitude out loud. Give back to your community by volunteering. Volunteering often allows you to reflect on the blessings in your life as you help others. Send a donation to a local charity, or simply tell someone you know or don’t know well that you appreciate them. Even simply smiling at someone will go a long way in letting others know you are grateful to them for being in your life.
Thankfulness has allowed me to be more present in my life. By focusing on all the good things in my life, I’m able to better deal with all the struggles I may face.
Phoenix Medley, age 16, began volunteering with SEED Impact in 2020. She connects with SEED Impact’s client-partners and researches topics of interest. She enjoys writing to support their work, and as a way of drawing more attention to their passion, vision, challenges, and life-giving outcomes.