The Science Behind Giving ThanksNovember 25, 2020
This year has been particularly difficult for many families and also for many providers. However, during this time of thanksgiving we want to share the research on the benefits of giving thanks and how this can help not only you, but your patients and their families.
Gratitude is the quality of being appreciative or thankful, and research has shown that expressing and practicing gratitude can improve relationships, mood, happiness, and overall well-being. This is a practice you can use not only in your own life to prevent burnout, but that you can also model and share with families by offering strategies such as:
1) Expressing gratitude verbally – You can model gratitude for families by expressing your thanks and appreciation. You can say things like, “thank you for the privilege of caring for your family.” Research shows that expressing gratitude to others is positively associated with one’s perception of the strength of one’s relationship and relationship maintenance behaviors.
2) Writing thank you letters or emails – Let someone know how grateful you are to have them in your life. In one study, individuals who wrote and delivered gratitude letters had higher happiness scores than individuals who underwent other positive psychology interventions.
3) Using a gratitude journal – Write down what went well or what you are grateful for each day. Research shows that individuals who write about what they are grateful for are more optimistic and altruistic than others and have improved mood and health.