The Positive Effects of Practicing Gratitude

By Lindsay Wallace, Executive Director

Recently, I attended a NAMI Dane County program facilitator meeting led by Becky Gennerman-Schroeder, our Program Coordinator. Becky started out the meeting with a quick check-in, which is something we do in the office before we begin our monthly staff meetings. She asked each person to go around the room and express one thing they were grateful for.

The responses were wide-ranging, from being thankful to family and friends to the unusually gorgeous November weather to the generosity and kindness of a complete stranger. Everyone had a story to share and you could instantly feel a stronger sense of connectedness between the participants, some of whom had not met each other before.

Part of why we do this both in our staff meetings and at quarterly facilitator meetings is because we recognize that the work we do can be emotionally taxing at times. When we take a step back to acknowledge the good things happening in our lives and offer up gratitude, we are intentionally practicing self-care and focusing on the positive. Doing this not only makes us feel good but also increases morale and allows us to strengthen our relationships with one another. 

I am grateful for many things, but I would like to take an opportunity to offer gratitude to our members and volunteers who dedicate so much of their time to bettering the lives of people affected by mental illness. I thank you for your time, your advocacy, your commitment, and your unwavering desire to make a difference in the community. Without you, NAMI Dane County would not exist.

I hope those of you reading this will be inspired to take a few moments to express one thing you are grateful for, and feel free to tell us in the comments: expressing it may boost your well-being!