Many wellness programs focus on getting people moving and improving eating habits. Diet and exercise are important aspects of our health, but let’s not forget to also pay attention to our emotional and psychological wellbeing. In our ambitious, achievement-oriented society, it is easy to focus on what we do not have or who we wish we were. While the negative feeling of inadequacy can lead to motivation, it comes with the risk of anxiety or depression. To keep our mind and body well, let’s try to focus on and be happy with what we have and who we are, through gratitude.

Practicing gratitude is like doing push-ups for emotional and psychological wellbeing because it strengthens resiliency, or the ability to handle stress. Work can be stressful at times, by promoting a culture of positive emotions we buffer the stresses, and spin obstacles or loss into opportunities and gain.

A gratitude journal is a research-backed practice that increases happiness. So, why not adapt the tried-and-true gratitude journal for offices and other communities? An appreciation platform, either online on an organization’s internal website, or a physical bulletin board, promotes community-building and allows everyone to celebrate each other’s contributions.

During this past holiday season, the Walker Tracker team participated in a gratitude wall. It was nice to see the many different things that all of us are grateful for. A gratitude wall allows for everyone’s opinion to be heard, not just those who are more vocal. While it can be a fun exercise, a gratitude board has the potential to create an environment of openness. When we give thanks, we acknowledge what we value, whether it’s meteor showers, dogs, or snail mail.

Speaking of mail, a simple thank you card to coworkers and friends also creates a positive, uplifting environment. Giving praise and expressing gratitude was one of the alternate New Year’s resolutions Ellen mentioned in a previous post. Acknowledging others for their time and effort, increases self-confidence and self-worth, promoting a positive attitude and buffering the negative emotions that can lead to anxiety or depression. High self-worth can also promote engagement in health-promoting activities, such as participating in worksite wellness programs. Practicing gratitude can help you develop beneficial lifestyle habits.

Coming off of the “high” of the holidays, I am feeling very grateful. I am thankful that I am able to provide wellness programming to amazing clients and that I work for an organization that values my work and well-being. I truly believe that we all have so much to be grateful for and we don’t need to wait to start experiencing the emotional benefits that gratitude brings. What are you thankful for?

Thanks so much for reading!