Why ‘thank you’ helps you be well
Saying ‘thank you’ is said to be one of the easiest things to do but can often be one of the things most easily overlooked. Maybe we are in a rush or just keen to get on with an activity – whether that’s when we are at work or in our lives in general. Over the last year during the pandemic, we have spent time saying ‘Thank You. Perhaps more than often to the people who have been so important in getting us through it – the NHS, the key workers, the volunteers – it is wonderful to see the campaign for a National Thank You day on July 4th build.
When we spend time looking at gratitude at Fresh Air Fridays it is about just that; bringing our focus on both the little and big things we can be grateful for. The same way July 4th plans to bring the ‘Thank You’ into focus.
It’s important because human beings have a negative bias, for example, noticing and perhaps dwelling on things that didn’t go well, rather than those that did. By creating a practice to notice more of the things we are grateful for, we can start to build a different focus.
During this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week in May, the focus was on Nature. It’s something that many more people have appreciated during our lockdown periods and has become a great source of nourishment and gratitude during our pandemic year. The fact is that it is forever present, as long as we care for it and respect it. Despite the world changing for us, the seasons have still come and gone and continue to occur.
As I have undertaken some coaching this morning, I have been lucky enough to observe out of my window a woodpecker bob up and down as it has flown in and fed off a flower in my garden, a cheeky squirrel scurry along my wall as it visits the birdfeeder in a neighbour’s garden and a swallow swoop down and drink from a pool of water. They are enjoying the breezy but sunny day and I am immensely grateful for their presence in brightening up my day. I’m also grateful for their reassuring presence in doing the same things either daily in the case of the squirrel, or each May as the swallow nests near me and how the woodpecker visits when this specific flower blooms. What I am aware of is how my mood changes when I both take a moment to notice them all but, more importantly, appreciate and be thankful for them.
Working Well programme
At Fresh Air Fridays on our 12 week Working Well programme we encourage our participants to practise tools, such as gratitude, and build on them. To allow space in both their working and personal lives too, and recognise what those tools and practices contribute to them and their wellbeing.
Perhaps there is someone or something you are grateful for today, take a moment and acknowledge that, perhaps share it or take another action, and then notice what difference that makes to you and your mood. What if you did that everyday? What if it expanded to be more than one thing you are grateful for until it becomes at least 3 things a day? Consider then what the long-term effect could be for you and those around you either at work or personally.