Expressing Gratitude Is Good for Your Health

Happy Thanksgiving from the Better Health Advisors team!

November 21, 2021

The holiday season, a time for joy and togetherness, can also be quite stressful. The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced additional sources of anxiety—maybe your family isn't fully vaccinated but wants to celebrate together, or the supply chain issues have affected your holiday plans. 

Try expressing gratitude. A recent Harvard Health article explains how giving thanks can make you happier, help you handle adversity, strengthen your relationships, and improve your health. This Mayo Clinic post offers tips for making gratitude part of your daily routine. If you’re having a hard time right now and not feeling especially grateful, this UC Davis Health article suggests imagining how grateful you’ll be when your circumstances improve.

Gratitude can be a powerful tool in healthcare, too.

It's important for patients to appreciate how hard medical professionals work and how stressful their jobs can be. The BHA team has decades of experience working in healthcare settings, and we have seen first-hand how mindfulness and gratitude can make a difference in patient care. A few examples:

  • A positive, grateful attitude makes it easier to communicate clearly—and that affects your care. The next time you make a doctor’s appointment, keep in mind that you still may have to wait to see the doctor. (Doctors' schedules often change unexpectedly based on urgent needs.) If you let yourself get frustrated about the wait, you may be distracted during your appointment. A grateful mindset can help you focus on the time you have with your doctor, so that you can ask the right questions and really listen to what your doctor says.

  • A few kind words can go a long way. Thanking your healthcare team will make them feel valued and appreciated, and that means a lot, especially in a high-stress environment like an emergency room. When you go to the ER, be patient and understanding with the staff, and they will do their best to help you get the care you need.

  • Treat healthcare providers—and their rules and policies—with respect. For example, Better Health Advisors was recently working with an ER patient who needed a hospital bed. We asked to speak with someone in hospital admissions and were told that it wasn’t allowed. Instead, we spoke with a doctor and explained the situation, and he called admissions on the patient’s behalf. Of course, we expressed our gratitude for his help.

  • Gratitude keeps things running smoothly. In a stressful medical situation, it's not easy to stay calm, but getting agitated will only make things worse. If someone in the doctor’s office or hospital has to calm you down before they can help you, it wastes everyone's time. Instead, try to be compassionate with yourself, other patients, and the staff. Managing your emotions will make it easier for you to explain what you need when it's your turn, and create a more positive experience all around.

If you find healthcare issues overwhelming, you don't have to navigate the healthcare system alone. For support managing your healthcare during the holiday season or any time of year, reach out to an expert health advisor.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Better Health Advisors team!

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