Sometimes, when individuals go through difficult times like we have in the past 18 months, they forget that there are many things in their life for which they should be thankful. Research has shown that healthcare workers who embraced gratitude by writing down the things for which they were grateful twice a week had a reduction in perceived stress and depression. In general, individuals who identified as grateful reported higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction; were more resilient to stress; were less depressed; achieved more; reported better relationships with their peers; and were overall, more helpful and generous. And so, I want to encourage each of you to embrace gratitude every day and make it a practice to consider what you have in your life for which you are grateful. Below find some of the things for which I am grateful (in no particular order):
- Correctional Nurses: When I entered the correctional healthcare realm 25 years ago, I had no idea about the specialty of correctional nursing. When I told family and friends that I had taken a job in the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, they were concerned. I tried to assure them that it was no more dangerous than my job in the emergency department, but I think my words fell on deaf ears. As soon as I began, I loved it, and knew I had found a career. It has been wonderful working next to and getting to know so many nurses with varied backgrounds who come together to care for and advocate for people who cannot do so themselves. I am grateful for your work on behalf of our patients and am so happy to have met so many of you in my travels and through the Correctional Nurse Educator, Nursing Behind the Wall, and of course, this blog.
- Blog Readers: I am so grateful for you – the readers of this blog – and I so appreciate hearing from you. Words cannot convey how proud I am that there are over 9,000 unique visitors each month to correctionalnurse.net! You are my inspiration and the focus of my efforts.
- Professional Associations: I am truly thankful for professional associations like the American Correctional Nurses Association, the National Commission on Correctional Health Care, and the American Correctional Association. These organizations do great work in advancing correctional nursing practice and providing a venue for professional networking and communication.
- Correctional Nurse Colleagues: Over the last 25 years, I have had the privilege of meeting some exceptional nurse leaders through this blog, through the American Correctional Nurses Association, through our professional sites on Facebook, and at many, many correctional health conferences. I have gotten to know them, and am very, very grateful to call them friends. These nurses have inspired me and challenged me to the next level in my professional practices, and they continue to do so.
- My Family and Friends: Without the support of my family and friends I could not do what I do. They are often my sounding board for ideas, and I value their input and honesty. Those I know who have much family stress and drama have no energy left to create new things. I truly do appreciate everyone in my life.
Embracing Gratitude in the Year Ahead
Please consider adding a daily practice of embracing gratitude in your life. If you already do embrace gratitude, please share it with us in the comments section of this post.