“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” - Zig Ziglar
What is gratitude and why might taking the time to be grateful be helpful for us?
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and having a readiness to show appreciation. Deep gratitude involves us attending to and appreciating to the fullest extent “the good” that we notice. Giving thanks has the power to improve many aspects of our lives. As Louisa Kamps (2017) highlighted in Time’s special edition Mindfulness: The New Science of Health and Happiness, gratitude serves to:
- Make us feel better
- Boost our energy levels
- Make us healthier
- Make us more resilient
- Improve our relationships
- Make us nicer human beings
Dr. Michael Craig Miller in a 2015 edition of the Harvard Health Blog highlights that gratitude is good for our brain and our body as it increases levels of happiness and positive emotions, enhances good experiences, improves our health, supports our ability to manage adversity, and builds stronger relationships. The field of positive psychology researches gratitude and the benefits that come from appreciating the past, the present, and the future. Cultivating gratitude can be done by participating in the following:
- Writing thank you notes - expressing appreciation to someone who has positively impacted your life in a letter/card
- Keeping a gratitude journal - each morning or evening, write down what you are thankful for
- Meditating - mindfully focusing on what you’re grateful for
- Savouring walks - taking time during a daily walk to notice the good things in your life
Some of our students have shared with us what they feel grateful for, including: supportive parents, siblings, friends and teachers to talk to, good health, front line workers, pets, safety and protection from the pandemic, weekends, finding a growing sense of normalcy, shelter, and feeling safe and cared for.
Expressing gratitude for what we have and love focuses us on the positives in our lives. Sometimes the doom and gloom needs to be dispelled with a simple moment of thanks. In this moment, we experience the sense of comfort that comes to us as we cultivate gratefulness.
Enjoy the TED talk by David Steindl-Rast titled, “Want to be happy? Be grateful.”
Wishing you comfort in gratitude.
Junior School Counsellor