The Gifts of Gratitude

Michelle Allen

Educator Wellness Coach for OT

It’s here! The highly anticipated start of the holiday season is upon us! After months of isolation and virtual connections, the opportunity to spend time together in person with family and friends has us almost giddy with excitement and a bit overwhelmed, too. The roadways will be full and the airports buzzing this week as we head toward a sense of “normalcy” in connecting with those we love in celebration of Thanksgiving. The timing couldn’t be more perfect!

Living and working in the shadow of the pandemic has taken its toll on everyone. The impact on our lives and in our schools is palpable. The collective pause to focus on Thanksgiving holds the promise of being the greatest gift of all this holiday season. We are ready for some respite from the storm! The time away will renew and recharge us. Likely, in ways we can’t fully understand. That’s the gift of Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving (n), by definition, is the celebration of gratitude (the quality of being thankful). Gratitude is an often celebrated, powerful wellness practice that is sometimes undervalued as a resource in our daily lives. Yet, researchers and practitioners alike tout it as a powerful elixir for the challenges we face. Practicing gratitude, in whatever form it takes, can release us from toxic emotions and have a lasting effect on our brain (Brown and Wong, 2017) <