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The Power of Gratitude

Health Center campaign prompts positive thinking

By Alex Stoller


Terps aren’t waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to share what they’re grateful for this holiday season: Opportunities to learn and travel. Access to clean water and health care. Mom’s chicken noodle soup.

These are just a few examples of what students, faculty and staff have written so far in 300 “Gratitude Books” distributed by the University Health Center. Marketing Specialist Jason Arrol and Coordinator of Health and Wellness Sarah Wilson created the project to promote positive thinking.

“It’s something that sometimes we practice, sometimes we don’t practice,” says Wilson. “Sometimes we’re doing it and we’re not even thinking about it, so it’s kind of bringing this conscious awareness to gratitude.”

Each page of the book includes one of six prompts, such as “I am thankful to be at UMD because” and “The challenge I am most grateful to have had to face.” Participants are encouraged to draw pictures, write stories or jot down key words, in a journal style, to get positive thoughts flowing. Then they pass the book along and return it by mid-December.

The project started with 100 books, but quickly proved so popular that the Health Center distributed 200 more.

This Thanksgiving week, we share some of the entries:

Gratitude 5

Gratitude 1

Gratitude 3

Gratitude 3

Gratitude 4

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Strategic Communications for the University of Maryland community weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.