Writing and Gratitude
"Begin each day with a grateful heart!" ~ Abraham Hicks
Writing about your worries and concerns can make you less anxious and better able to perform successfully in spite of those worrisome thoughts (Beilock 2011) . What can writing about the things you appreciate do for you?
When we identify the people, experiences, and opportunities in our lives for which we are grateful, and then express our appreciation in some way, we enhance our emotional and physical well-being. We can feel happier, more effectively cope with stress, develop stronger relationships, reach our goals more easily, exhibit more sensitivity and empathy, develop higher self-esteem, and even sleep better.
Have you tried it? Once you finish your writing today, complete one more assignment: Write a thank you message to someone who has mentored, advised, encouraged, inspired, nurtured, supported, or fed you. Recount what they mean or have meant to you in your personal, academic, or professional life.
My inspiration has been Professor Gary Schneider at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who, every day for over 30 years, has written a thank you note to someone in his college, community, or church. (I think I will write him a message thanking him for being a role model.)
At Cornell University during our new graduate student orientation in fall 2017 we offered students the opportunity (and cards and postage) to write thank you notes to faulty members or family members who made their journey to graduate school possible. From 900 new graduate students we received and mailed over 700 thank you cards. They are an inspiration, too!
Are you grateful for the time or place or opportunity to write? Are you appreciative of those who offer feedback or caffeine? Identify what is good in your world. List those who support you. Be appreciative and encouraged by all the positives in your life.
Thank you for being part of my writing community!
Jan Allen, Associate Dean
Academic and Student Affairs
Cornell Graduate School