Letter from the Executive Director:
How Expressing Gratitude Can Lead to Wellness
“Thank you” is often expressed for appreciation. We find ourselves counting our blessings in the month of November when we prepare for Thanksgiving festivities. It’s a time to express gratitude for all the abundance we have been given, and being thankful is a simple act that can lead to happier times.
Recently I read an article that expressed how saying ‘Thank you’ can help children grow up to be happier. Parenting can be challenging at times yet teaching our children simple gestures of gratitude such as this one can help them in appreciating their relationships.
Other studies also illustrate how gratitude can increase your well-being. The author of “Science says children will grow up happier if you teach them a habit you probably do without realizing,” J.T. O’Donnell suggests that the psychosocial and physical benefits of people who practice gratitude are:
- Less depression
- Better impulse control (spending, eating, drinking, etc.)
- Greater optimism and positivity
- Stronger immune system
- Lower levels of stress hormone cortisol
- Lower blood pressure
For many of our clients who find themselves feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious about life situations, finding ways to express gratitude can lessen the negative mood and actually boost their spirits. In this newsletter you’ll read about Maira Lopez, case manager, who leads a parenting group that has changed the course for families. We also share a new program, Family Preservation, whose sole purpose is to keep families together and help them become self-reliant. Through in-home counseling, these parents also learn ways to communicate with their children.
As we approach the holidays, which can place additional burdens or trigger unwanted memories, practicing gratitude is an act of mindfulness that can alter our negative mood to a favorable one. Being present to what surrounds us and grateful for what we have and who we have grounds us.
I find myself being thankful for the staff at El Centro de Amistad. They are uplifting, inspiring, and empowering to our clients. I am thankful to our board members and donors who give of their time, talent, and treasure to a mission that is dear to me. I am filled with gratitude for all that surrounds me and who we have serving our community. Thank you for bettering the lives of our clients.
Tamika Farr, MBA