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Gratitude Tree

As I left the office this week, I walked by the gallery wall in our reception area. It’s a place we often display artwork done at the center. For obvious reasons the wall hadn’t been updated since before the pandemic started. But recently it got a breath of spring! At first glance the wall is a great burst of happy with those spring colors. Then I saw the “fall” leaves at the bottom, and I was intrigued. I had to see what this was all about.

Gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Gratitude has been shown to change how we think, feel and behave. It promotes positive well-being, life satisfaction, and sleep quality. It encourages us to focus on energy and ability over fatigue and has been shown to decrease fatigue and depression.

For the Gratitude Tree, members answered three prompts, because writing down why one is grateful has been shown to increase your productivity and have a positive impact on mental health. The green leaves on the tree represent members’ answers to the sentence “I will focus on…” The flowers represent answers for “I am grateful for…” The leaves at the base of the tree are members’ responses for “I will let go of…”

Some of the things they are focusing on – 1 good thing a day, being a good friend, writing poetry

Some of the things they are grateful for – sunshine, people who are able to transport me from place to place, my dog that keeps me moving

I will let go of – being resentful of things I can no longer do, frustration with people who don’t get what I’m dealing with, I want to give up being angry at myself for having MS.

Even in the midst of the destruction of MS, it is possible to have gratitude. I was humbled by the notes on those leaves. What a lesson for all of us – to focus on gratitude. As an organization, we are grateful for each of you who support the MS Achievement Center. Without you, we could not continue supporting people with MS to maintain their independence. You are directly responsible for bringing this to our members.

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