“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” - Henry Van Dyke
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
While this year is still trending as being different, especially when it comes to family gatherings for the holidays, don’t forget to give thanks and gratitude.
Gratitude is an attitude. It consists of reminding yourself of what you are personally grateful for, be it the challenges you’ve overcome, or the hard work and effort you put in on a daily basis. It’s also a reminder to thank those who have helped you along the way.
As we head toward the new year, use this Thanksgiving week as a kick start for making gratitude your attitude. Thoughts of gratitude help you to be happy and healthy, by improving your life satisfaction (attitude toward emotions, feelings, and mood), and social well-being (your actions that can lead you to feeling a sense of belonging, social inclusion, purpose, values, and beliefs).
Effects of consistently expressing gratitude makes you happy and healthy because:
It leads to feelings of trust, safety, and connectedness.
Reduces stress and anxiety, which reduces inflammation and lowers blood pressure.
Improves sleep quality.
Makes you more resilient because your perspective is optimistic.
Emiliana Simon-Thomas of the University of California Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center recommends three things to create your gratitude attitude:
1. Gratitude Journal: on a daily or weekly basis, write a minimum of three things you are grateful for. This can include: a gratitude of the process, the effort and hard work you put in on a daily basis; gratitude of purpose, like how you contribute to the team, or how you showed support for others. You can use an app like 365 Gratitude to journal on your phone.
2. Gratitude Letter: create a list of all the people who have impacted you in a positive manner and/or who have been a positive influence in your life. Take time to write a letter to these people, even if it’s one letter a week, do it. It will not only make you feel good, it will make that person you wrote feel good as well!
3. Gratitude Face to Face: say it out loud and say it directly to someone. Be specific when expressing gratitude. Acknowledge things like their effort, advice, or mentorship, and explain why it was helpful for you.
As an athlete, you can also show gratitude for:
i. The opportunity to play and compete in your sport. In lacrosse it's referred to as Honoring the Game, where athletes are encouraged to compete with class, adhere to the spirit of the rules and traditions of the game, and to compete with heart, honor, and hustle.
ii. The process. Be grateful for the work you put in, and the moments where you played well. Thinking of these moments stimulates the brain to relive these moments. It’s the self talk that stimulates optimism, creativity, and flow.
Appreciate your successes and the challenges you have overcome and are currently managing. It’s all part of the process and becoming your best self. If you can practice these things on a regular basis, gratitude will lead to greater social support, life and sport satisfaction, team cohesion, and lower levels of burnout.
Gabana, N. (2019, June). Gratitude in Sport: Positive Psychology for Athletes and ... Retrieved November 24, 2020, from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nicole_Gabana/publication/333710843_Gratitude_in_Sport_Positive_Psychology_for_Athletes_and_Implications_for_Mental_Health_Well-Being_and_Performance/links/5d306f81458515c11c39e44d/Gratitude-in-Sport-Positive-Psychology-for-Athletes-and-Implications-for-Mental-Health-Well-Being-and-Performance.pdf
Stulberg, Brad. “The Secret Link Between Gratitude and Performance.” Outside Online, Outside Magazine, 22 Nov. 2016, www.outsideonline.com/2137466/secret-link-between-gratitude-and-performance.