NOVEMBER

November  -  Gratitude

The Elementary buildings have been busy all month learning and expressing Gratitude.  There were mystery "Guess Who's Got Gratitude" readers, Going Gold for Gratitude where students wore gold clothing, Every Thursday Grab some Gratitude class activities, Gratitude lessons in the Library, STEAM and Foreign Language and Grateful for Our Troops treats and cards. At the High School and Middle School students participated in lessons on the many benefits of practicing Gratitude. Students identified a minimum of one thing they are grateful for and acknowledged in writing one person who has significant meaning in their life through expressive gratitude. Students were asked to think of how gratitude turns what they have into enough. 

Definition

·         The quality of being thankful; An appreciation for what one already has and with value being independent of monetary worth.

·         Gratitude is both a temporary feeling and a dispositional state.  Studies suggest some people are naturally more inclined to feel grateful.

Ideas to Foster Gratitude

·         Keep a gratitude journal or listNote at least three things each day for which you are grateful.  This will increase attention to all the little yet positive things each day that might otherwise be overlooked.

·         Be present. Multi-tasking makes it difficult to feel true gratitude since our attention is divided. Take the time to really focus on the person you are with or the event that is happening in the moment.  Briefly stop and concentrate on how much you appreciate a sunny day, the food you are eating or the person sitting next to you.  Take an “awe walk” outdoors and focus on what you see and hear along the way.  Such walks were found to boost the well-being in healthy older adults in a study conducted by the University of San Francisco.

·         Write thank-you notes:  Bringing a focus to the positive actions or attributes of others will generate positive feelings in both the writer and receiver.  Try this once each week and see what happens!

·         Similarly, write a letter to someone who has made a positive impact on your life.  Explain why they are important to you, what you have learned from them and how they have affected your life. The act of conceptualizing and writing this letter will boost your feelings of gratitude. For an even more powerful effect, send or hand deliver the letter.

·         Avoid complaining or passing judgement for an entire day.  When we judge and criticize others (and ourselves) we cannot experience gratitude. Take control of your thoughts and notice the benefits to you and to those around you.

·         Hang out with positive people Studies from both Harvard and UC San Diego found individuals who associated with happy people were more likely to be happy and grateful themselves.

·         Cultivate self-compassion: Acknowledge when you are being self-critical and then shift gears. Remind yourself that nobody is perfect.  Think about what someone who loves you unconditionally would say if you verbalized your thoughts.  Consider the steps you could take to help feel happier, healthier or improve the situation in some way.

·         Listen to guided meditations on gratitude. Free meditations can be found on YouTube, Insight Timer, Calm, and Smiling Mind