As we approach the end of 2021, the Turner Syndrome Foundation (TSF) takes a deep dive into what giving thanks truly means, how it impacts you and your community, and how to give thanks.
More than Just Two Little Words
“Thank you” is a phrase that we utter numerous times per day, but how often do we stop and think about what it truly means? It’s human nature not to think deeply about a phrase that has become part of your everyday speech. But it can have a great impact on you and the people and communities you care about.
What It Means To Give Thanks
According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, the word “thanks” can be defined as “an expression of gratitude, kind or grateful thoughts.” Giving thanks is the act of expressing your gratitude for someone or something.
Gratitude can certainly make the recipient feel good. However, it can also help you focus on the positive things in your life and not take them for granted.
The Benefits of Giving Thanks
Gratitude is often tied to empathy and compassion. We use it to express positive thoughts to someone who provided either a tangible or intangible service. We show gratitude in loving relationships, or simply when someone holds a door open for us. When we’re grateful to others, we can become more optimistic. This helps us form more meaningful and lasting relationships.
Scientifically proven benefits of giving thanks, according to Forbes Magazine, include:
- growth in psychological and mental strength,
- improvements in sleep patterns, and
- reductions in aggression and stress.
Who knew the key to getting better sleep was just saying thanks?
Besides the great health benefits, being thankful helps us realize that, while appreciating the goodness in our own lives, it can also be found by helping others. This motivates people to give back as volunteers, helping to build a sense of community In communities, it’s important to thank each other for a job well done, which helps to keep everyone working together as a team for the long haul.
Giving back to others can involve donating your time, to do something outside your daily routine. It is very fulfilling to give back, but it can be even more meaningful to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find opportunities to give back, but showing gratitude does not always have to be grandiose. Below are some suggestions for giving back to your local community.
In Your Local Community
- Cook lunches for healthcare workers. The pandemic has negatively impacted communities everywhere. Healthcare workers, like nurses, physicians, and pharmacists, have worked on the front lines, providing the best care to patients. Oftentimes, workers sacrifice their lunch breaks to help patients. You can say thanks by giving them lunch for a day.
- Use your musical talents to give back. If you have a musical talent, one suggestion is playing music for the elderly in nursing homes, or for special needs children. Musical therapy can help elderly individuals with dementia and aid children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Sharing your talent can help express gratitude for the facilities and their staff that efficiently and lovingly care for these groups.
- Help with after-school activities, like giving books to libraries. Libraries are essential for communities to learn and grow. One way to volunteer your time and give thanks is by giving away unused or unwanted books to libraries. These donated books can help students who can not afford to purchase new books. This promotes educational growth in young children, which will help them as they progress through their schooling.
- Shop at your local farmers market. Farmers work hard to provide fresh food for communities. Facing competition from big businesses, local farmers need your support. One way to give thanks for their efforts is by shopping at their local farms or businesses, which also provides you the opportunity to enjoy fresh, locally grown food.
- Volunteer for a non-profit organization. TSF is a great community that you can give thanks to. Every year, many volunteers donate their time to spread TS awareness, contributing towards the mission of supporting individuals with TS. TSF is looking for excited volunteers who are eager to learn and make a difference today.
To the TS Community
You can make a difference today by joining TSF as a volunteer. Some volunteer opportunities include:
- writing or editing for TSF’s blog
- fundraising/hosting special events
- being a community advocate
- serving as a leader on one of TSF committees
- participating in TS research
Medical and research professionals can also support TSF by:
- becoming a Professional Member
- presenting a WE Learn webinar
- authoring/editing blog posts or other clinical materials
- networking with other professionals
- being an industry advocate/influencer
To learn more about volunteering and being a hero for TS, click here.
If you are unable to volunteer, there are other ways to support TSF’s mission. You can donate items to benefit the TS community via an in-kind donation or become a monthly donor. To learn more about becoming a supporter, click here.
Takeaway - What You Can Do Now
- Giving thanks is essential for individual growth. It helps with having a more positive mindset and improving our physical and mental well-being. It can improve self-esteem, mental strength, and sleep. Choosing to be positive can strengthen your determination to succeed and improve your overall outlook on life.
- Expressing gratitude to others can help you form long-lasting relationships and appreciate the relationships you currently have.
- Thanking others within a group establishes a sense of community. It is important to reinforce this when working towards a common goal.
- There are various ways to give back within a community, so choose to start today!
- Remember that even small contributions go a long way and can make a difference in someone’s life.
Written by Chioma Gabriel, TSF volunteer blog writer. Edited by Liz Donner, TSF volunteer blog editor, and Susan Herman, TSF volunteer lead blog editor.
© Turner Syndrome Foundation, 2021