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  1. Employee Resources
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  3. Cultivating Gratitude

Cultivating Gratitude

Release Date: December 1, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our life this year, including how we observe holidays. Needing to modify our holiday celebrations might mean it takes a little more effort to get into the holiday spirit. This is where the importance of cultivating gratitude comes in. Gratitude shifts how we see our life and circumstances. Rather than focusing on what we don’t have, we recognize and appreciate what we do. Research shows that taking time to be grateful in a deliberate way can improve overall well-being, increase resilience, promote restful sleep, reduce stress, strengthen relationships, and increase happiness.

Taking an opportunity to cultivate gratitude is one of the simplest things you can do improve your health and satisfaction with life. Here are some tips for starting your gratitude practice:

  • Start a gratitude journal. Set time aside each day to write down what you are thankful for. On days when you need some inspiration, go back and read some of your journal entries. On days you are struggling to identify something positive to write, go back to basics and acknowledge everyday things we take for granted like health, shelter, stable employment, or even the existence of your favorite food.
  • Say thank you. Thank the people in your life for something they did for you this year, no matter how small the deed. Tell your family how thankful you are for them and how you appreciate their love and support.
  • Be present and recognize the good. Stop dwelling on the things you do not have or were not able to accomplish this year. Instead, take a moment to appreciate the positive relationships you have and reflect on the instances of encouragement, compassion, grace, forgiveness, and other acts of love you encountered this year.
  • Practice emotional agility. Do not let anger, disappointment, failure, and frustration control your behavior or thinking. Recognize your thoughts and emotions and choose to live and act from a place of gratitude. Be thankful for another opportunity to feel more positive emotions, improve your health, relish good experiences, and build strong relationships.

Your Employee Assistance Program is Here to Help

If you are feeling disconnected or stressed your Component Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help. Your EAP provides no-cost counseling to help you manage your stress and can help you and your eligible family members set goals as you start your gratitude practice. For help or more information, contact your Component EAP or send an email to worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 12/01/2020
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