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Global Wellness Institute: thankfulness can bring spirituality into our daily lives

Let’s begin with a huge “THANKS!” We sincerely appreciate your dedication to spreading the mission of The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease to your corner of the globe. This GWI call to action is designed to empower a just, sustainable and well world for everyone—an audacious aim that comes to life through strategic country partnerships, a vibrant collaboration with Prevention magazine, and you. The team at the Global Wellness Institute celebrates your efforts to make wellness a priority in your workplace, families, communities and personal life.

2020 has been a challenging year, to say the least! It is in times like these we are reminded of the importance of the vital global initiatives, such as The Wellness Moonshot or the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, that prioritize wellbeing for all. The worldwide pandemic and civil unrest alone have caused much change and loss in our lives and organizations. Yet, in loss, we discover there is much to learn; in grief, we find gratitude.

Thankfulness is About Being

Science teaches us that living and leading with gratitude enhances our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. It helps us to forge positive relationships with others, as well as ourselves. And, it uplifts our work experience and the culture of our organizations.

Nature, too, reminds us that life is generous. Thankfulness is a natural response when we take time to appreciate that the moon, sun, earth and sky give unconditionally. As the Persian poet Hafiz writes:

Even after all this time
the Sun never says to the Earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with a love like that,
it lights the whole sky.

Spiritual traditions connect us with thankfulness as well. Gratitude is part of the daily practices, sacraments and devotional teachings of virtually every world faith, according to psychology professor Robert Emmons. A heartfelt thank you reminds us that we are part of a human community and a greater mystery that transcends us all. When we pause to be genuinely grateful, that simple act can bring the spiritual into our daily lives, even now in our most challenging times.

Thankfulness is About Doing

Cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien says, “Gratitude is essentially the recognition of the unearned increments of value in one’s experience—the acknowledgment of the positive things that come our way that we did not actively work toward or ask for.” Although gratitude is believed to be a universal capacity within each of us, we understand it best when we express it in our actions.

Ask yourself: How can my deep sense of thanks energize my wellness leadership?
Then, experiment with these practices to find out.

Thank yourself

Remember the Are You a Wellness Leader?” quiz you completed at the start of this year? Review those eight questions again. Identify the progress you’ve made to live and lead wellness. Maybe you excel at giving yourself permission to take care of your own health—or you use life-enhancing behaviors, like techniques for conscious breathing and renewal, to find calm when overstressed. Or, perhaps you’ve helped your family or work team adapt and grow through change and make wiser choices for themselves. Pat yourself on the back! You deserve your own thanks for your dedication to wellness leadership.

Thank others on your journey

Identify someone in The Wellness Moonshot network, work team or family that has inspired you on your wellness leadership journey. Email, call or text your gratitude. Or, use one of these creative approaches! Your “thank you” will not only acknowledge them, but it will also open new reservoirs of energy and wellbeing within yourself.

Shift to thankful language

Emmons claims, “Grateful people have a particular linguistic style that uses the language of gifts, givers, blessings, blessed, fortune, fortunate and abundance. Less grateful people are preoccupied with burdens, curses, deprivations and complaints, and their words reflect this negative focus.” Thankfulness is the currency of healthy relationships. How can you encourage the language of gratitude at work and at home?

Give thanks away

What unique gifts, talents or resources do you or your organization possess? How might you gift those to others in need, without seeking a payback? Ironically, when we give out of gratitude rather than give to receive, we are intrinsically rewarded with a deep sense of abundance and wellbeing.

Build a thankful “we”

Gratitude is the connective tissue of organizations that function well. It turns transactional relationships into true partnerships and long-lasting friendships. Genuine gratitude builds trust within a team and invites them to appreciate and show up as their true selves. In your campaign of thankfulness, invite your workforce to recognize and appreciate the vendors, customers, partners and other stakeholders that your organization depends on. Be an organization that uses gratitude as a cornerstone for everyone’s success.

Let us know how it’s going!

Share your thanks on social media using #wellnessmoonshot, and we’ll spread your inspiration to the growing network of wellness leaders worldwide. Plus, join us for The Wellness Moonshot Celebration on Friday, December 4 and end 2020 with our collective thanks. This may be the end of the year, but it is not the end of our time together. We are deeply grateful to be on this journey with you to empower wellness worldwide.

We have covered so many topics about the qualities and skills of wellness leadership this year! We hope each of these Wellness Moonshot articles continues to support you to lead wellness for yourself and others. Please use them as practical, inspiring resources on your wellness leadership journey and share them with others.


Author: Fabiola