Reflection and Resolution: The Science of Gratitude

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Reflect on your present blessings, on which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
— Charles Dickens

Practicing gratitude could affect you on two levels, according to Emmons. It can improve your mental health by freeing you from toxic emotions, such as envy, resentment and regret. At the same time, it also affects you physiologically, lighting up the medial prefrontal cortex of your brain and priming you to feel good even months after a particular gratitude-sharing experience.

Is giving thanks perfunctory or a powerful, mood-lifting act? More and more, science is showing that saying thank you is a good thing — for the recipient and for you. Robert Emmons and Michael McCoulough, two authorities on gratitude, performed an experiment in which they asked one group of people to write down the things that they were grateful for on a weekly basis, while the other group recorded hassles or neutral life events. The folks who wrote down their reasons for gratitude reported fewer physical symptoms, that they felt better about their lives as a whole and expressed more optimism about the upcoming week compared to their negatively focused counterparts.

In the spirit of Gratitude Letter Writing activities, we asked Cobalt employees to write down what they were thankful for this year. Read their responses below.

Tara Witter, Account Manager

I am grateful for setbacks and the daily opportunity to set things right.

I am grateful to not have to worry about access to the basic necessities of everyday life.

I am grateful for my family — the ones born to me and the ones I’ve chosen. These are my people, and I’d be lost without them.

Leslie Harris, President & Director of Corporate Client Strategy

One of the things I am especially thankful for is the music that has become the soundtrack of my life. At first, it was Bill and his guitar. Then, as the boys grew, they joined him in a love of music. Every time I hear Owen and Ben singing and playing their guitar and ukulele, working out harmonies, singing songs they’ve written… those are the moments I wish I could capture so I can relive them again and again. In the meantime, I try to pause whatever I am doing so I can fully listen and appreciate all that it makes me feel.

Lori Kantor, Senior Copywriter

Autumn is when leaves and temperatures fall and horizons widen. Walking in the woods this time of year, when bare branches mean longer sightlines, reminds me to be grateful for the return of long-range views. As a former freelancer and new Cobalt team member, I’m thankful this fall for new opportunities to develop my skills, broaden my perspective, and gain new experiences.

Mark Miller, Art Director

I’m thankful for the many local parks here in Delaware. They’re all so close I can take a hike in the early morning or at lunch to rekindle my creativity and keep me inspired.

Steve DeLuca, Director of Operations

I’m thankful for being able to watch my daughters grow up into successful, happy adults. I’m very thankful for my wife Stephanie, and my stepdaughters who have brought so much happiness to my life. I’m also thankful that my life has been full of adventures and challenges that have made me who I am today.

Jess Huddy, Senior Designer

I’m grateful for the support and love of my incredible friends and family, and the healing powers of nature. Even during a couple of the most difficult years that I can remember, knowing that my support system is there for me and being able to get outside and experience nature’s beauty have kept me grounded.

Lisa Harris, Business Development

Playing with my 3-year old grandson, Holden, is one of my favorite things to do. I’m grateful for the time we get to spend together, doing art stuff, being silly, building forts, and being ourselves.

Tanya Bickerstaff, Office Manager

I’m thankful for so many things: for my wonderful teenage kids and all the time I’ve gotten with them over the years to build deep and enduring relationships with each of them; for medical science that, among other things, has allowed us to live with a little less fear these days and keeps my diabetic cat healthy; and for my handyman skills, learned and honed in a previous career, that are currently allowing me to finish a room in the basement of my new house.

Bill Harris, Vice President & Creative Director

I’m thankful for the gorgeous views offered up by the Shenandoah Valley. There’s one point on the road leading to our house where you crest a slight hill and a long spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains comes into view. Every time Leslie and I crest that hill together, we say out loud, “Mountains,” as a way to say thanks for this moment, for the life together and for the opportunity to raise our boys — and our business — in such a beautiful place.

As a strategic communications agency serving science- and R&D-driven organizations, we specialize in highly technical markets where complex ideas and information must be conveyed with clarity. Our team includes writers, designers, strategists and content architects, all working together to help you reach — and engage — your internal and external audiences.

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