by Mark McConnell, MD (Boise Idaho)
According to Robert Emmons, gratitude is an affirmation of goodness and recognition that the source of goodness is outside of ourselves. “We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received…and we acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”
Benefits of Practicing Gratitude:
How to practice Gratitude:
Three Good Things
Based on the research done by Martin Seligman in his book, Flourish, this is one of the easiest ways to practice gratitude and has an enduring effect. Every night for two weeks you right down three good things that happened in your life—they do not have to be big. It can be as simple as someone opening the door for you to as deep as having someone tell you that you have made their life special. It doesn’t matter how significant, but just reminding yourself of three good things that happened during the day improves the biochemistry of your mind and acts like an anti-depressant. If you practice "three good things" for two weeks you will have an enduring benefit for a year that is MORE effective than taking an SSRI anti-depressant for a year!
We practiced this at St. Luke’s Leadership Team and found it very beneficial. Some people shared their three good things with other loved ones every night for two weeks and found significant benefit in this shared gratitude.
Letters of Gratitude
Barbara Fredricksen, in her book Positivity, says that this attitude helps you see new possibilities, bounce back from setbacks, connect with others and become the best version of yourself. You need a ratio of three positive emotions to one negative emotion in order to foster resilience Consider writing a letter of gratitude to one of your colleagues. The letter must be authentic and answer these three questions: a) What you did b) How it impacted me c) Here is what it says about you
You can find more information to foster gratitude in your life at:
The Physician Vitality Initiative is a project of Ada County Medical Society, Boise Idaho. Local services offered here, specifically the Physicians Vitality Program (counseling services) are directed at ACMS Members only. All other information is published in the hopes it will be useful to other physicians and clinicians seeking help and inspiration.
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