There have recently been many articles, books, and posts reminding us of the importance of gratitude to combat stress and improve resilience. The events of this past year have, for many, led to increased anxiety, grief, depression, stress, and isolation. At such times, it can be difficult to feel grateful. However, in such times, gratitude is most needed.
Practicing gratitude can improve mental and physical health, as well as increase quality of life. In a recent Time 100 Talks interview, Deepak Chopra advocated for tapping into gratitude to find meaning in challenging events. Chopra noted that reasons for gratitude can range from the personal to broader concepts, such as global unity in addressing crises.
As I begin my term as president of the Academy, I am reflecting on the many opportunities I have found as an audiologist to be grateful over the last few months. These include, but are definitely not limited to:
- The lessons learned and personal and professional growth experienced through Catherine Palmer’s leadership. Her sense of humor and steadfast, clear-sighted, open-minded, compassionate, calm, and positive guidance during uncertain times were inspirational.
- Colleagues in the Academy and beyond who have openly shared strategies and innovative approaches for safely providing care to our patients during the pandemic. These range from rapidly providing written guidance, organizing virtual town halls to discuss topics of interest, presenting virtual educational experiences, and engaging within the Academy's Audiology Community online forum.
- Generosity of audiologists in offering personal protective equipment (PPE) and resources/supplies to those in need, including other practices, health-care workers, schoolteachers, and their communities.
- Audiologists supporting each other and seeking opportunities to help, such as those who have welcomed externs into their practices on short notice to ensure students who were displaced during the pandemic can continue their path to graduation
- Present and past Academy volunteers who have given, and continue to give, of their time and talents to support our profession.
- Past presidents and board members of the Academy who prudently and thoughtfully established a solid foundation, capable of weathering difficult times.
- The outstanding Academy Executive Director, Tanya Tolpegin, who tirelessly applied her expertise and innate skills to navigate the changing landscape.
- The dedicated and talented Academy staff members, who seamlessly transitioned to COVID-19-compliant work situations without impacting Academy initiatives.
With gratitude for the many ways the audiology community has come together during this time, I look forward to continued collaboration as we strive together to meet challenges as they arise and to advance the profession of audiology.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” —Melody Beattie