Thanksgiving 2012: Gratitude challenge changes the way Elk River man aproaches life

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

Henry Griner believes being grateful can change a person or a business for the better.

Henry Griner

He’s seen the changes first hand in his own life when he took a gratitude challenge and began consistently sending out thank you cards. Since June, he’s sent an average of one a day.

“That concept changed me from thinking about myself,” said Griner, of Elk River. “… I made the decision, along with sending out a card a day, that I’m not going to complain. I’m going to thank God for what we have and trust Him.”

Griner has sent thank you cards to his wife, family members, business associates, pastors, friends and people from church. He even sent one to Jesus Christ.

The gratitude challenge came at a key time, as Griner was seeing the two main contracts in his internet marketing consulting business come to an end.

Deciding to be grateful in the face of challenging circumstances has changed his thought process and focus, Griner said.

In a July 10 blog posting, Griner wrote: “I believe that gratitude is the soil out of which healthy friendships and loving relationships can spring up and grow. When people began to focus on the things they have and who they are grateful for, their minds are changed along with their emotions. They can become more peaceful and happy in whatever circumstances they find themselves.”

The whole concept of being grateful isn’t new, he added.

Griner said others have also found positive results from being grateful. One, a professor named Robert Emmons, has written a book based on his research about what happens when people are grateful, Griner said. Emmons wrote that gratitude is a positive, desirable state that people find enjoyable. Feelings associated with gratitude include being peaceful, content, warm, giving, friendly and joyful. Emmons is the author of the book “Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.”

Being grateful is a concept Griner not only embraces personally but has made part of his business, Mission Springs Marketing. He sends thank you cards to business contacts through a company called SendOutCards, which has about 15,000 card styles available and also offers a custom card option. The sender goes online to choose a card and write a message, and the cards are sent out on his or her behalf.

Griner said he bought in as a distributor of SendOutCards five years ago to get the lowerst price for cards that he sent out himself. Last year he began to see how it could also dovetail with his marketing business.

He now has a logo — powered by gratitude — and a website — — that play off the city of Elk River’s Powered by Nature brand.

Griner said he encourages businesses to let their customers and clients know how grateful they are for them, whether they do so using SendOutCards or by mailing a handwritten note.

But he said his larger message is for people to grasp the concept of gratitude and practice it.

“I believe that we can change a city — and people — by sharing gratitude,” he said.