Be grateful every day — not just on Thanksgiving.

By UnityPoint Health on Thursday, November 1, 2018

Practice an attitude of gratitude all year long.

This blog was written by Kevin Vermeer, President and CEO of Unity Point Health:

I love this time of year. Family, food and football? Yes, yes and yes.

It’s also a time when we’re keenly aware of our blessings in life. We make a mental note that, even when things get hard, there is something to be grateful for. The friendly barista from your morning coffee run, the doctor or therapist who guided you through a tough time, bundling up by the fire or kids catapulting themselves into giant leaf piles.

Thanksgiving brings us back to an attitude of gratitude. So, what if we held on to that all year long? 


What if, as we start to think about new rituals for the new year — whether that’s exercising, screen-free family dinners, or dedicating more time to a hobby — we make practicing gratitude a daily ritual, too. Gratitude for the big things, like a job promotion or new house, and gratitude for the simple things, like a warm bed or connecting with friends. 

GRATITUDE CHALLENGE: Embrace gratitude with Hy-Vee KidsFit Challenge

At UnityPoint Health, we’ve made a promise to show everyone how much they matter. Gratitude means a lot to us. We have entire programs dedicated to it. We’re making it a part of our culture — and I want to encourage you to find space for it in your life as well.

As a former accountant, I’m a numbers guy. And when I started looking into the effects of gratitude and practicing happiness, I found some compelling data from Harvard researcher and author, Shawn Achor. Following Achor's five steps to increase our experience of happiness, with gratitude at the top, people are nearly 10 times more engaged at work, live longer, get better grades, experience less acute symptoms and so much more.

Achor's four other steps include:

  • Journaling positive experiences
  • Exercising for 15 minutes a day
  • Meditating for 2 minutes a day
  • Engaging in a conscious act of kindness

There’s less than 60 days left in the year. Be intentional with that time. Start 2019 strong. Use these remaining weeks to set yourself up for 365 days of gratitude and watch your life, and those around you, change for the better because of it. 

From all of us at UnityPoint Health, Happy Thanksgiving. We’re especially thankful for you.

vermeerKevin Vermeer assumed the role President and CEO of UnityPoint Health (formerly Iowa Health System) in January 2016. He's served the organization in a variety of leadership roles since 2000. Vermeer has over two decades of experience managing financial operations for leading health care organizations. Vermeer participates in community organizations, such as the Iowa Business Council and Greater Des Moines Committee. Vermeer also serves on the Healthiest State Initiative Board.