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Posts tagged ‘gratitude’

On Gratitude

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, the readiness to show appreciation and return kindness to others. German sociologist Georg Simmel (1858-1918) called it the moral memory of mankind, the foundation of social behavior that keeps society from breaking apart.

In the United States, Thanksgiving is the holiday that encourages us to be appreciative and although 2020 has been a year of many struggles and difficulties, the opportunities to be grateful abound. Even if we are not able to get together with our extended families and friends over a wonderful meal, we can still practice gratitude.

Over the past decade, research has shown that practicing gratitude has great social, physical and psychological benefits; increased happiness and life satisfaction, stronger immune systems or reduced anxiety and depression are just a few examples of how practicing gratitude can improve our lives. But where do you start, given the challenges that we are living through?

Gratitude begins with an increased awareness of our own experiences, by looking within and paying attention to the small moments. As we become more mindful, we realize that we have choices when it comes to our emotions, thoughts and the way we perceive our surroundings.

A second dimension of gratitude is the expression of appreciation, when we become active by doing something to show we are thankful. According to Robert Emmons, one of the world’s leading scientific experts on gratitude, this social dimension is especially important because “it is a relationship-strengthening emotion.” It brings us closer to others and builds strong connections that fuel our ability to move forward with more resilience.

A third dimension of gratitude is an intentional appreciation of the self–who we are as individuals, our strengths and all the people who have contributed to who we are. In an earlier post, I shared strategies to help you cultivate a grateful mindset for self.

Gratitude starts inside and flourishes through our expressions of kindness towards others and ourselves. Practice, share it and enjoy the benefits of being grateful. As for me, I am grateful for all of you. Your support and dedication to children fill my bucket.

Wishing you all a safe Thanksgiving holiday.

SEL Starts with the Adults

The importance of supporting young children’s social and emotional growth in early learning settings, such as child care centers and preschools, is well established. It is part of their “core business”, something they do day in and day out. There is, however, an important aspect of SEL that is not considered part of this work—the need to support early childhood educators’ social and emotional capacity. Read more

Gratitude for Self

Did you know that people who experience gratitude cope better with stress, recover more quickly from illness, and enjoy more robust physical health, including lower blood pressure and better immune function? Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, the readiness to show appreciation and return kindness to others. In the US, Thanksgiving is the holiday that celebrates gratitude and encourages us to be appreciative. Students and teachers may spend time together creating gratitude quilts, writing gratitude letters or sharing a gratitude meal (check out Stone Soup: a lesson in sharing). However, there is a lesser known form of gratitude that we often miss: gratitude for self. Read more

Choosing to Be Grateful

This year, many families in the US are feeling fearful or anxious about having political conversations during the Thanksgiving dinner. A time to show appreciation and gratitude towards loved ones may become sour if we affirm “our” experience and opinion, without considering the experience of others or how our comments might affect them. Ask yourself, how am I feeling? And (even if it is difficult) also ask, how are you feeling? Having an enjoyable Thanksgiving meal might require us to practice and model our best emotional intelligence skills! Read more

Finish the Year with Gratitude

The days are getting longer, the weather is warmer… summer is almost here! For students, this means a few more weeks wrapping up final projects and for teachers, battling to keep students engaged while trying to finish their own final projects. At this point of the school year, everybody is plain done! With this in mind, what are some activities that teachers can do to finish the year on a high note? Read more

Do You Want to Fight Bullying? Focus on Kindness

Our bullying assemblies are simply lecturing us to not be the bully, when we should be informed about WHAT WE SHOULD DO when we get bullied. Many of us aren’t bullies, but we are victims.”  Middle School Student Read more

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