At PRA, we have a number of “boards” around the office.  These boards are bulletin boards maintained by staff and various committees to share information and materials with staff.  For example, our Cultural Competence Board, maintained by PRA’s Cultural Competence Committee, has featured pieces on intersectionality, implicit bias, and trauma.  Our Wellness Board, created by WellStaff@PRA, has focused on seasonal tips for wellness, local wellness events, and healthy recipes.  In November 2018, we decided to do something different with the Wellness Board.  Rather than post fall/winter tips for wellness, we asked staff to generate the content for the wellness board, focusing on the concept of Gratitude.  The board was decorated with a fall foliage theme, with blank index cards and push pins on it.  From November through mid-January, staff wrote down something they were grateful for on an index card and posted it to the Wellness Board.  This marked the first year of what will now be PRA’s Annual Gratitude Challenge.  By the time the board was taken down, nearly all of the available space was covered with index cards, highlighting what PRA staff are grateful for.  Some of the gratitude notes were specific to offerings here at PRA, while others were personal.  All notes were posted anonymously, and the process gave staff the opportunity to pause and think about they appreciate most in their lives.

PRA employees noted, “I am grateful for…”:

  • PRA’s amazing health insurance
  • The new opportunities each day presents
  • My health, because sometimes it’s not about the things you can control
  • Our Month of Giving, it’s an uplifting start to the holidays as we help others who need our support
  • The abundance experienced in my life and the lives of my loved ones – the health, support, and opportunities
  • Being able to give my son a better childhood than I had
  • My sweet and loving family
  • The people I work with and the lessons and knowledge gained from them
  • The privilege of working with such a great group that does amazing work and really makes a difference in the lives of so many

This is just a sample of what was posted, and it helps to show the value of offering the Wellness Board as a space to let people reflect and share the things they appreciate in their lives.

Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for instance, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants or thinks he needs. Tossing off the half-hearted “thanks” won’t cut it; deep gratitude has to come from within and in a meaningful way. This spotlights the highly social aspect of feeling grateful. Gratitude is also getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude by counting our blessings and writing letters of thanks, for example. This proactive acknowledgment can increase our well-being, health, and happiness. Being grateful—and especially the expression of it—is also associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy. Psychology Today, What is Gratitude?