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At this time of year, many of us are busy making plans to get together with family and friends to enjoy a big meal, watch some football or just take a nap. But hopefully all of us will choose to take some time to be thankful for all the blessings we have enjoyed over this past year.

Many spiritual traditions focus on the value of gratitude as a spiritual practice. The Christian scriptures list faith, hope and love as the most enduring spiritual qualities. They also say the secret formula for experiencing true peace is to refuse to let anxiety take control of your life, opting instead to choose joy, prayer and thanksgiving.

Psychological research also shows us the importance of being grateful. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert Emmons, a leading gratitude researcher, has conducted multiple studies on the link between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. Anecdotal data suggests that gratitude is a game-changer.

Attitude determines altitude. In other words, when we choose an attitude of gratitude, and we encourage our patients and families to do the same, we are bound to soar above our circumstances and find peace and contentment in every situation.

So during this holiday season and throughout the year, I hope we can all embrace an attitude of gratitude. Cultivating a culture of gratitude within our organization will go a long way towards improving our health and the health of our patients and their families. Gratitude requires so little yet yields so much. Be thankful and watch your peace, hope, joy and contentment grow in ever-increasing measure.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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