Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for many people because rather than focusing on presents, decorations, or parties, it’s simply about remembering the things we are thankful for and expressing that gratitude. It’s only fitting that November is National Gratitude month and we’re celebrating it at Elmwood Manor.
Research shows that gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness, positive emotions, good health, resilience in the face of adversity, and strong personal relationships. With a list like that, practicing gratitude can be a game-changer. And just like practicing any skill, all it takes is being intentional and what to practice.
Practicing gratitude comes down to two steps: noticing and taking action.
We’re often so caught up in our busy routines that we don’t pay attention to the many small but amazing things happening around us. The blue of a sunny sky, a dusting of snow on the trees, the driver that gives you a break pulling out of the parking lot, or the neighbor that gives you a wave are just a few examples. If you start to notice, savor, and appreciate those little things, it can have a tremendous impact on your mood and your ability to manage the stresses of your day.
Noticing is about making ourselves feel good, taking action is about helping others to feel good. The actions we’re talking about aren’t hard or time consuming, they just require you to be intentional. Here are a handful to get you started:
- Smile and greet your neighbors. Everyone wants to feel comfortable in the place where they live, so why not commit to being the one that always says “hi” first?
- Introduce yourself to your neighbors, especially if someone is just moving into an apartment or townhouse. Even if you never become friends, greeting someone by name will always make them feel valued.
- Look for opportunities to compliment others in a genuine way. If you like a neighbor’s hair, coat, glasses, car, front door decorations, etc., let them know. It always feels good to be noticed in a positive way.
- Offer to help. Do something for a neighbor that you hope they would do for you. If you see someone carrying a heavy load, offer to help or hold the door. If you’re brushing the snow off your car some cold Rochester morning and your neighbor’s car is parked next to you, take a few minutes to brush theirs off, too.
- Thank people for the ways they help or serve you. Saying “thank you” only takes a second or two. Writing a note and maybe including a small treat is even better. It will make you feel great, too.
We think Elmwood Manor is a pretty special community and believe the more our staff and residents notice and show appreciation for each other, the more positive life will be in our little slice of Rochester.
Happy Thank Thanksgiving!