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Fostering resilience through gratitude

Thankfulness and gratitude are key ingredients of resiliency, according to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Crystal Housman)

Thankfulness and gratitude are key ingredients of resiliency, according to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. (Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Crystal Housman)

March Air Reserve Base, California --

How did we get here so quickly?

So much has happened this year, yet so much has yet to happen. With November upon us, we will be observing Veterans Day, voting for a new president, celebrating Thanksgiving, and moving right into Christmas with its shopping, gift wrapping, decorations and festive foods.

Looking back on this year, we have endured a great deal as a nation and as a world. There is much unrest in our society, but I hope this month will be a time of pause for us all.

Our country has many issues that we are wrestling with. I know they are all part of the growing pains of a people destined for greatness. Regardless of what your thoughts, feelings or political leanings, one must admit that only a great people can endure such pain and still experience a great future. We have much to be thankful for, despite what our circumstances may dictate these days.

The action of giving thanks is actually more than good feelings. In an article written by psychotherapist Amy Morin for Entrepreneur, she said: “A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levelsof gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for— even during the worst times of your lifefosters resilience.”

As we enter into this Thanksgiving season, let us spend some time counting our blessings and finding things to be thankful for. It not only helps to bring perspective to the difficulties of life, but also builds resilience.

I know that I am thankful for this amazing wing, the 163d Attack Wing. Each one of you continues to contribute to the safety of a nation that aspires to “liberty and justice for all.” And I am thankful that I serve alongside all of you in this very important time in history.

May you have a Thanksgiving full of joy, and a bounty of those things which are intangible: friendship, family, and peace.

Bright Spot is a recurring column produced by the 163d Attack Wing Chaplain Corps.