Categories for Gratitude

Your Thanksgiving Celebrations Poll Results

Holiday Football, the 5-Second Rule, and the Popularity of Pumpkin Anything We recently asked you to share about your Thanksgiving celebrations and experiences and over 200 of you responded! Our staff enjoyed reading about your traditions and dishes – from the familiar to the ‘new to us.’ Your comments ranged from the common frustrations surrounding who hosts, what is served and dealing with annoying relatives to the anticipation of spending time with college-aged children who will return home, finally getting to meet new family members born during quarantine, games, laughter and spending time together in person. Eighty-three people answered our... Continue reading...

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November 22, 2021 6:13 pm
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Practical Steps for Reducing the Stress of COVID-19

This blog is the second of a two-part series written primarily for those who provide services to our senior adults (but is applicable to us all). In last week’s blog we discussed that stress is the result when perceived demands are greater than perceived resources. This week we want to focus on ways to cope with and reduce stress. Steps for reducing your stress Incorporating this model of stress is vital for successfully coping with the daily demands in your life and how you lead others. This model provides four different ways to reduce the stress we experience in our lives:... Continue reading...

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August 30, 2021 9:00 am
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Thinking Ahead: Ways to Avoid a Thanksgiving “Downer”

Thanksgiving is coming up next week and the holiday has been in the news due to the impact the COVID-19 virus is having on our lives. I will leave the practical suggestions on how to make a holiday gathering safe to the medical experts (for those of you who choose to get together with family and friends). I want to present some thoughts and suggestions that you should consider before planning your holiday celebration — in hopes of helping you think clearly about the options you are considering and giving you ways to avoid experiencing a depressing Thanksgiving Day. First,... Continue reading...

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November 16, 2020 9:00 am
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Making ‘Negative’ Communication Healthier: The Differences Between Complaints and Concerns

A lot of comments have been voiced about the increasing intensity of negative and conflictual conversations in our culture – on television, on radio talk shows, in social media, even in our personal interactions. In reflecting on the numerous challenges facing us in the workplace and our community activities (decisions about school attendance, sports events, social gatherings), it became clear that there are a lot of areas in our lives that we can complain about. Almost simultaneously, I thought: “We are in a space where almost all of us can become overwhelmed with the amount of complaining we hear and... Continue reading...

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September 8, 2020 9:00 am
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Reflections: What Is the United States of America?

As a country, we are in the midst of a number of events which have upset our (until recently) normal, daily life activities. This unsettledness has created the opportunity to rethink “who we are” as a country – and who we want to become. I’m not the most reflective person, but I have been thinking about the United States – our history (good and bad), our current status, what makes us the country we have become, and how we are similar to and different from other countries (either current, or those in the past.) What is a Country? Countries are... Continue reading...

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June 29, 2020 8:52 am
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Change Goes Better When Staff Feel Appreciated

Change in the workplace is often inevitable. Previously, changes had to be made in response to external circumstances, like marketplace forces, or they were part of a larger institutional plan to create growth and improvement. Now, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, change seems to be the only constant in the workplace. Changes in the foundations of how we work and where we work are ever evolving and they can take their toll on employees — which leads to uncertainty, anxiety, resistance, low morale and more. The good news is, managing reactions to change can be made easier if... Continue reading...

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May 18, 2020 9:00 am
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How Do You Successfully Encourage Employees During Difficult Times?

Anxiety. Discouragement. Feeling disconnected. Worried about the future. All are currently common experiences for hundreds of thousands of workers in the U.S. We are told “we’re all in this together,” “we’ll get through this,” “it will get better soon” – all of which are true (to some degree). But almost all of us have moments when we are emotionally worn out, lose hope, and want to give up. Some of us cycle through these periods rather quickly, others linger in the dark space for a while, and some of us have difficulty climbing out of the cave. Enter: the need for encouragement and... Continue reading...

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April 27, 2020 9:00 am
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Why Relational Connection Is So Important During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the need for social distancing, quarantine and isolation so that vulnerable individuals are not exposed to the virus and healthcare systems are not overwhelmed. Collectively, we understand the goodness of “flattening the curve” by each of us doing our part to slow the spread of the virus. COVID-19 is not the only epidemic we are facing. Separating ourselves because of COVID-19 comes at a time when America and many other nations are in the midst of an epidemic of loneliness whose antidote is greater positive social connection. Our current situation—the simultaneous need... Continue reading...

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April 13, 2020 9:00 am
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Newly Remote Employees During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Snapshot of Their Perceptions, Feelings and Concerns

We recently initiated a research project to gather information from newly remote employees to assess their current life circumstances; their perceptions, feelings and behaviors; their top concerns, as well as positive aspects of their life currently. Study Participants Eighty-five newly remote employees responded to an invitation to fill out an online questionnaire about working remotely (88% Female, 12% Male). The questionnaires were completed within two business days (ending March 30, 2020), just after “Stay In Place” orders had been put in place for several states, and just prior to the Federal CARE Act being passed by the Senate. Interestingly, 41% of the... Continue reading...

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April 9, 2020 11:00 am
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Setting Goals for the New Year? Consider Finishing Some of Last Year’s Instead

It’s that time of the year again – when we think about resolutions for the new year. Rather than considering a new list of “to do’s,” I’ve been thinking more about the role of perseverance in our lives, and in the lives of those who accomplish meaningful goals. While resolving to start new habits or achieve new goals is obviously a worthy endeavor, I believe sticking to and finishing those tasks not yet completed may be a better use of our time and energy. Our culture idolizes the “new” and really doesn’t think much of the boring, “steady as she goes,” day in... Continue reading...

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December 30, 2019 10:06 am
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Happy Thanksgiving from Appreciation at Work

Dr. Paul White and the staff at Appreciation at Work would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. As we draw nearer the holiday this year, we wanted to share an excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation establishing Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. ********** “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to... Continue reading...

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November 25, 2019 9:00 am
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Steps to Meaningful Affirmation

To affirm someone is to say something positive about someone directly to him or her. It is about saying something positive to the person about who he or she is. Or, it could be thanking someone for something he or she has done for you. Think of someone who has done something special for you. Maybe you think the person knows you appreciate the favor, but maybe you’ve never actually told him or her. Consider affirming that person directly, and see what happens. Let’s explore how to do that. Remove insincere phrases. First, remove phrases in your affirmation like “I... Continue reading...

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September 16, 2019 9:00 am
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Revisiting the Meaning of Vacation

In the summer months, I often reflect on the idea of “vacation” — what it is, what it means, and what it has come to mean in our culture. Vacation means “to vacate” — to leave, to get out of here, to get away from your daily setting and responsibilities. We get a different perspective on life when we get away from our daily routines. Fortunately, the growing popularity of the stay-cation has allowed even those in a tight financial situation to enjoy the benefits of ‘getting away.’ Vacation implies that you aren’t working. You are taking a vacation from work. At times, I... Continue reading...

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July 22, 2019 9:00 am
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Reflections on the Fourth of July: Our Freedoms and Rights

I love the 4th of July holiday largely because we have a legacy of wonderful family get togethers that are a lot of fun (and we have done so for several years, which evoke a large number of fond memories for me). And our family celebrations have involved several traditions that I enjoy: being outside playing games, shooting fireworks, barbecuing with great grilled meat, swimming and boating, and watching a large firework show. So, almost always, the Fourth is a fun time. Celebrating the anniversary of our country’s Independence Day is also a great time to reflect on the numerous freedoms... Continue reading...

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July 1, 2019 9:00 am
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Memorial Day: What Are We Remembering and Why?

Memorial Day in the U.S. represents a variety of things to different people: A day off of work The beginning of summer Going to the lake Having a barbeque with friends and family The Indianapolis 500 Visiting family gravesites Veterans parades and celebrations Watching war movies For me, especially when getting together with children, teenagers & young adults, I start to wonder — what does Memorial Day mean to them? In some ways, maybe it doesn’t matter — “it is what it is” and it is their life. But, in other ways, I believe gathering together is important — for if we are not... Continue reading...

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May 23, 2019 10:23 am
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To Give or Not to Give? That Is the Question

Many of us are (belatedly) starting to think:           “I’d like to get my boss (or colleague) a gift for the holidays, but what? I don’t want it to look like I’m trying to gain my boss’ favor.  But I don’t want just to give her some token ‘something’ that will look schmaltzy.           What could I get her?” I’m going to give you some things to think about, some of which may surprise you. First, consider not giving a gift now. Wait, and give them a meaningful gift later, after you have taken time to consider and explore.  Thoughtless... Continue reading...

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December 10, 2018 9:00 am
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Gratitude Leads to Generosity

We have just come through a season of reflecting on all of the wonderful, positive aspects of our lives — family, friends, health, food, shelter, safety, the ability to earn a living, and the opportunities we have to do something meaningful with our lives.  So, what is next? I believe gratitude, true gratefulness and thanksgiving naturally lead to the desire to share the good in our lives with others.  When we understand how much of the blessings we experience have little to do with what we have done — when and where we were born, the people who have shaped... Continue reading...

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November 25, 2018 7:37 pm
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Thanksgiving Is Actually Healthy For You: The Benefits of Gratitude

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, there are numerous columns and articles discussing various aspects of the holiday (almost too many!)  But we would like to take the opportunity to bring attention to the overall benefits to our lives of having a thankful attitude.  (This information may be some you want to share with others.) In his bestselling book, What Happy People Know¹, Dr. Dan Baker (who is the director of the well-known wellness program at Canyon Ranch in Arizona) states that appreciation is the single most important tool in developing an enjoyable life. Additionally, social scientists who have studied the impact... Continue reading...

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November 19, 2018 9:00 am
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Do millennials want to be shown appreciation differently?

The workforce is changing rapidly, with the number of millennial employees expected to surpass baby boomers (individuals in their late 50s and older) by 2019 and they will comprise nearly half of the total working population by 2020. Organizational leaders and HR professionals affirm knowing and understanding your employees is critical in order to have (and keep) an effective workforce, thus, distinguishing and addressing the differences between employees of different age groups is important. Adjusting to the characteristics and desires of younger employees has been the source of much research.  The Gallup Group found that the majority of millennials (55%)... Continue reading...

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September 16, 2018 6:36 pm
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How the Grinch Stole Appreciation at Work (and how to get it back)

It’s a Christmas classic. Every year we enjoy the journey of the Grinch — from ninja-level curmudgeon, to repenting of his ways and then saving the day. The Grinch remains an interesting character. He’s so filled with anger and resentment that it clouds his vision and certainly his judgment. He embarks on a journey that he thinks will fill the hole in his small and fragile heart. Yet, as we know, the results of his mayhem left him cold and wondering why there was no joy or satisfaction. It was not until his ‘ah ha’ moment that things changed for... Continue reading...

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December 21, 2017 10:05 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey in How You Show Appreciation this Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (“bombarded” is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying “thanks” in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “I’m off. You’re not. Enjoy the weekend!” message. This... Continue reading...

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November 16, 2017 10:16 am
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The Intersection of Personal Life, Professional Life & Life’s Purpose

Sometimes “life” takes us different directions than we were expecting.  And sometimes life’s events illuminate the inter-relatedness of various areas of our life more vividly.  That has happened to me in the past few weeks. (This is a highly personal entry.  I feel like I need to let you know upfront that I’m not writing this to gain sympathy but just to share “where I am” and lessons I am trying to learn.) Less than four weeks ago, my older sister, Kathy, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that was already quite advanced within her body.  A week later... Continue reading...

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November 1, 2017 4:09 pm
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Hurricane Harvey – 5 Potential Reasons Why We Don’t Respond (& How to Get Past Them)

The devastation of Hurricane Harvey is massive — and is evident in numerous ways: water damage to homes and businesses, loss of personal belongings, displaced individuals and families, 300,000+ cars left unusable, businesses not able to do business, schools shut down, nursing home residents moved… the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, the sheer size and impact of Harvey actually creates some dynamics that makes it more likely that people (including you and me) won’t respond to the vast needs created. How can that be? Why would we be less likely to give some form of aid (monetary aid, donations... Continue reading...

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September 5, 2017 1:15 pm
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Personal Losses Make Memorial Day More Poignant

Memorial Day in the U.S. is a holiday that seems to be slipping in its meaningfulness to many in our country.  As the distance in time grows from recent military conflicts, and even further from the major wars of the past, the desire to pay honor to those who fought to protect our freedoms wanes.  This is a normal process of life – past losses and pain fade as time goes on. But a common life event brings the significance of Memorial Day back into focus quickly.  That event, the death of someone close, was an experience I had multiple... Continue reading...

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May 24, 2017 6:38 pm
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Utilizing Thanksgiving as a Reminder to Appreciate Your Staff

Thanksgiving is the holiday where we are encouraged to be thankful for the good things in our lives – health, safety, adequate food, clothing, and shelter, as well as the many material blessings we have. For most people, Thanksgiving is usually more of a personally-focused celebration, including sharing meals and time with family and friends. But the Thanksgiving holiday season can also be an opportunity to focus on, and be reminded of, the positive aspects of our work lives. This is especially true in these more difficult economic times, where many who desire employment are unable to find work or... Continue reading...

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November 21, 2016 8:00 am
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Don’t Be a Turkey in How You Show Appreciation this Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (“bombarded” is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying “thanks” in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “I’m off. You’re not. Enjoy the weekend!” message. This... Continue reading...

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November 15, 2016 8:00 am
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Communicating Appreciation to Your Boss (Boss’s Day is coming up!)

Boss’s Day is coming up soon, in two weeks, on Monday, October 17.  And no, it isn’t one of those appreciation days that was created recently by Hallmark, the National Association of Employers, or some other group with a potential secondary gain.  (Boss’s Day was first instituted in 1958, by a secretary for an insurance company, if you want to know.) The key questions, if you are an employee, are:  1) Should I do something for my boss?  2) If so, what?  3) How do I keep from looking like I am just “sucking up” to her or him?  Let... Continue reading...

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October 5, 2016 7:30 am
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“Just For Show” (with No Substance): When Appreciation Fails

While watching a movie, you’ll notice it before you can put it into words — something seems very off about a character and it immediately sets you on edge. They claim to be a fierce warrior but run and hide whenever a fight breaks out. You’re pulled out of the fantasy and can finally describe why – their actions don’t match their words. Though life isn’t a big screen production, we can still easily notice when others show us false appreciation rather than actual appreciation for a job well done. Social Awareness Body language developed long before oral language, making... Continue reading...

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July 11, 2016 6:56 pm
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What Are We Remembering on Memorial Day – and Why?

Memorial Day in the U.S. represents a variety of things to different people: A day off of work (possibly even paid!) The beginning of summer Going to the lake Having a barbeque with friends and family Having to get together with family The Indianapolis 500 Visiting family gravesites Veterans parades and celebrations Watching old war flicks For me, especially when getting together with children, teenagers & young adults, I start to think about — what does Memorial Day mean to them?  In some ways, maybe it doesn’t matter — “it is what it is” and it is their life.  But,... Continue reading...

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May 23, 2016 11:45 am
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