Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays and it’s only fitting that November is National Gratitude month. We think Erie Station Village is a pretty special community and believe the more our staff and residents notice and show appreciation for each other, the more positive life will be in our little slice of Henrietta.
Just like any skill, we can always get better at this, so we think of gratitude as more of an ongoing practice than something you achieve and stop working on. And just like any type of practice, all it takes is being intentional and knowing what to practice.
Practicing gratitude comes down to two steps: noticing and taking action.
We’re often so caught up in all the things we need to get done each day that we don’t pay attention to the many small but amazing things happening around us. The birds that make our pond their winter home, a dusting of snow on the trees, or the neighbor that gives you a friendly wave are just a few examples. If you start to notice, savor, and appreciate those little things, it can have a big impact on your mood and your ability to manage the stresses of your day.
Noticing is about making ourselves feel good, taking action is about helping others to feel good, too. And we don’t mean hard or time consuming actions, just those little things that can make a big difference in someone else’s day. Here are a handful to get you started:
- Smile and greet your neighbors. Everyone wants to feel comfortable in the place where they live, so why not commit to being the one that always says “hi” first?
- Introduce yourself to your neighbors, especially if someone is just moving into an apartment or townhouse. Even if you never become friends, greeting someone by name will always make them feel more valued.
- Look for opportunities to compliment others in a genuine way. If you like a neighbor’s hair, coat, glasses, car, front door decorations, etc., let them know. It always feels good to be noticed in a positive way.
- Offer to help. Do something for a neighbor that you hope they would do for you. If you see someone carrying a heavy load, offer to help. If you’re brushing the snow off your car some cold Rochester morning, take a few minutes to brush off a neighbor’s car, too. If you find out your pet-owning neighbor is feeling under the weather, offer to walk their dog for them. There are countless ways to help others if you look for them.
- Thank people for the ways they help or serve you. Saying “thank you” only takes a second or two. Writing a note and maybe including a small treat is one of the most powerful ways to make someone feel valued and brighten there day. It will make you feel great, too.
Research shows that gratitude is strongly associated with greater happiness, positive emotions, good health, resilience in the face of adversity, and strong personal relationships. With a list like that, practicing gratitude can be a game-changer in anyone’s life.