Finishing the Year with Gratitude

As the school year comes to an end, a gratitude practice can intentionally direct hearts and minds to name and offer thanks for little things. It can focus our thoughts on positive aspects of our life and our work. It can help turn a deficit mindset of feeling, that nothing is ever enough, into a plentiful mindset of feeling fulfilled. Our capacity to feel generous is increased when we feel we have enough. When we practice gratitude, we focus less on wanting/grasping and resisting/pushing away. Practicing gratitude as a team is an opportunity to see our interdependence and feel a connection. 

Gratitude practices, over time, can have an impact on physical and mental health and the brain. “… simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain,” noted Joshua Brown and Joel Wong in their research on gratitude. Research has shown connections between gratitude practices and physical and mental health. “Gratitude may combat the negative emotional processes that underpin unhappiness, burnout…” and more. Positive emotions can lessen the focus on negative emotions, according to this research. We are also less likely to take things for granted when we practice gratitude. 

Imagine a team that …

  • Approaches work with a plentiful mindset, seeing possibilities and opportunities 
  • Works generously and collaboratively 
  • Understands interdependence and connection

Possible Gratitude Practices:

  • Set aside a daily time to jot down a few things you are grateful for, maybe as you wake up or before bed
  • Begin meetings with a gratitude share
  • Write notes or letters of gratitude to others: family, friends or colleagues

What are you grateful for? 

Do you have a gratitude practice for yourself, as a leader? Do you have a gratitude practice for your team? Taking a moment on a regular basis to notice what’s going well in your life, to appreciate a person, to embrace the beauty you see in nature are just some ways to practice gratitude. A regular gratitude practice benefits not only us but also those around us. What gratitude practice will you try today?