Thursday, November 24, 2011

Upstream Reciprocity

I'm at the library trying to finish my thesis proposal, when I realized that we simply can't let the day go by without acknowledging our American friends' Thanksgiving holiday. Okay call it procrastinating, but that's my story.....

The other day I read a post on my Team Inspire  website (a website that connects patients, families, friends and caregivers for support and inspiration) entitiled, 'Things for Which I'm Grateful'. The author of the post was inviting members to post a short list of things for which they felt grateful, in true Thanksgiving spirit. Interestingly, there were 40 replies, far more than any other post, and keep in mind that these are people and situations that involve serious and sometimes grave health concerns. Despite, or maybe even because of, these serious emotional and physical burdens,the members came together to express and share their gratitude. The most recurrent theme you wonder? Family and friends, hands down. I am encouraged.

I guess it isn't really so surprising given that research suggests an attitude of gratitude has been associated with better health, better sleep patterns, a deeper appreciation of life and even more acts of kindness toward others. So perhaps intuitively, the Team Inspire members know this. But did you know that in an experiment done at North Eastern University, researchers discovered that individuals who had been helped by someone were more likely to engage in 'upstream reciprocity' and help someone else - even a complete stranger. And just in case you're wondering, upstream reciprocity is psychology speak for pay-it-forward! Love it.

So here is my short list of things for which I'm grateful:
- my health - my children - my husband - my morning coffee

I invite you to engage in some upstream reciprocity, dak someone today, and share your grateful list with us.

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