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This year’s iteration of the holiday season is in the books. Thanksgiving is many people’s favorite holiday of the season. It’s about the pause to experience gratitude. Appreciation generates kindness. Kindness literally boosts our immune systems in real-time. If you hosted, most guests left your home with lengthened lifespans because of the love that was shared for a few hours.

Let’s review the highlights.

  • The food was wonderful. Everyone arrived with the dish they always bring, and this year’s batch was delicious.
  • The dinner table conversation managed to stop short of offensive and gave plenty of fodder for the ride home.
  • Gratitude was felt and expressed. Despite the hangover of ‘Blackout Wednesday’ and the commercialism of ‘Black Friday,’ everyone managed to appreciate the purpose of the holiday.
  • Christmas lights were lit up slightly earlier than the prior year despite the increase in head shakes, eye rolls, and deep sighs.

November seems to come faster each year. We get a surprise dip into freezing temps by Halloween and barely get the lawn mower put away and the snowblower gassed up by the time the trees turn dormant. When we slow down and widen the lens, we experience the wellness impact of giving thanks every day.

Both giving and receiving gratitude improve wellness. While unlikely to last much past the holidays, imagine delivering love in every exchange. Consider the way the day unfolds as a direct consequence of that moment. The giver empowers the receiver to give to a new receiver. The new receiver passes it on. And on, and on, and on.


About the Author

Steve Ritter, LCSW is the Founder and Executive Director of Elmhurst Counseling. He has served as a teacher, author, consultant, human resources director, health care administrator, and licensed clinical social worker since 1977. A fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Steve has provided coaching, therapy and team development services to thriving schools, businesses and organizations.