Last week we joined together with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving and spend the day Choosing Gratitude, which happens to be one of our Vega Values. These 5 values, Believe in Yourself, Build Unity, Live with Integrity, Have Empathy and Choose Gratitude are the values that each Vega camper and staff member strive to embody everyday and that is what makes Vega so special.
We are overwhelmingly grateful to spend our summers with Vega campers and staff on the shores of beautiful Echo Lake in Maine, and build lasting partnerships with campers’ families and alums. Thank YOU Vega!
Choosing Gratitude is not always easy because it means looking for the good in all situations, knowing no situation is ever entirely perfect. Choosing gratitude requires discipline – it is easy to think about what is going wrong and fixate on what you wish would change, but by choosing to focus on what is going right and where you can express gratitude you are choosing your own happiness!
Need some ideas or motivation? Here are some suggestions from Harvard Medical School:
Ways to cultivate gratitude
Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice.
Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis.
- Write a thank-you note. You can make yourself happier and nurture your relationship with another person by writing a thank-you letter or email expressing your enjoyment and appreciation of that person’s impact on your life. Send it, or better yet, deliver and read it in person if possible. Make a habit of sending at least one gratitude letter a month. Once in a while, write one to yourself.
- Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Make it a habit to write down or share with a loved one thoughts about the gifts you’ve received each day.
- Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for. Sometimes it helps to pick a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each week. As you write, be specific and think about the sensations you felt when something good happened to you.
- Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.
- Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), it is also possible to focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).
We hope those of you in the US all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and invite everyone to spend a moment a day choosing gratitude. You will feel happier for it!
Kyle, Emily and the Camp Vega Team