This week marks the start of the holiday season. Although if you’re a holiday shopper, the ads and marketing seemed to have started months ago. Those in the U.S. will celebrate Thanksgiving this week, which is modeled after the harvest feast shared by the Wampanoag people and English colonists. Merriam-Webster defines thanksgiving as the act of giving thanks or what we might otherwise call expressing gratitude.
What is remarkable about expressing gratitude is that it benefits both the giver and recipient. In an article in Harvard Health Publishing from August 2021 called “Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier,” the article notes that “With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, being grateful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”
The article also stated several ways that one can cultivate gratitude. These include gratitude journals, writing thank you notes, setting aside time to think about your blessings and even just thinking about those people who have helped you and made an impact on your life. For me, having a list of things to do is often not enough to change behavior for more than a brief period. When I’m struggling with trying to change my behavior, simple reminders are helpful. For instance, I set up a simple gratitude reminder in my alerts that would pop up every Friday morning. It would remind me to spend a few minutes thinking about the past week and everyone who had helped me that week. After a relatively short period of time, my behavior changed, and I no longer needed the reminder. It’s not a perfect solution and I am certainly not perfect, but I find that thinking about gratitude is now more ingrained in my thinking than it was before.
I hope that you had a nice Thanksgiving holiday.
Take care and stay safe.
The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The discovery of cells—and the reframing of the human body as a cellular ecosystem—announced the birth of a new kind of medicine based on the therapeutic manipulations of cells. A hip fracture, a cardiac arrest, Alzheimer’s dementia, AIDS, pneumonia, lung cancer, kidney failure, arthritis, COVID pneumonia—all could be reconceived as the results of cells, or systems of cells, functioning abnormally. And all could be perceived as loci of cellular therapies.
In The Song of the Cell, Mukherjee tells the story of how scientists discovered cells, began to understand them, and are now using that knowledge to create new humans. He seduces you with writing so vivid, lucid, and suspenseful that complex science becomes thrilling. Told in six parts, laced with Mukherjee’s own experience as a researcher, a doctor, and a prolific reader, The Song of the Cell is both panoramic and intimate—a masterpiece.