As the new school year begins, it’s a good time to cultivate gratitude. By doing so we can increase our wellbeing and happiness.
We can feel gratitude towards others in response to being given a gift or being the beneficiaries of good intentions. We can also feel a sense of gratitude towards the local environment, our homes, the world and other people. By doing this we appreciate the goodness in our lives and outside our lives. Simply being grateful for being alive is a great motivator.
Some of the benefits of having an attitude of gratitude include;
-Being happier and liked more by others,
-Strengthening our emotions and helping us to be optimistic,
-Reducing materialism and increasing spiritualism,
-Increasing our self-control and resilience and
-Making us more concerned about others than ourselves.
Writing a gratitude journal can increase wellbeing by more than 10% and writing a gratitude letter to someone can also serve as a happiness booster. Simply talking about what you have been grateful for at the end of each day is a powerful activity for celebrating all the good things happening in your lives. Another fun idea is to make a paper chain with gratitude messages. At Barwon Heads PS, we create opportunities for our school community to express their gratitude in a multitude of ways including written notes to others, diary writing, conversations and students writing letters to their parents. The students also create art works in which they can express gratitude. Once we begin to be grateful, we realise and notice the many things around us that we can appreciate.
At Barwon Heads Primary School we have a whole school focus on one of the VIA Character Strengths each week.
Recently we examined and practised “hope”. Hope means looking forward to the future and believing that good things are going to happen.
Having hope can increase people’s ability to bounce back from setbacks, (i.e. resilience), because people with hope know that even if things are bad, every cloud has a silver lining and things will work out.
Grade 2 student, Jasmin showed an insight into hope when she wrote these beautiful words….
“I believe that if a flower blooms it has been given hope. I also believe that when a flower gets hope taken from it, it starts to die. Hope goes with patience because it takes patience and hope for something to happen or go good. People can give hope to others. How? You may be asking. Well if someone says, “I hope you do well on your test,” that person has hope on their test.
Teachers give hope in work and learning. And, just by having a friend gives you hope. I have seen people in the yard giving hope and taking hope. I have also noticed that when you give hope you get a friend and when you take hope you lose a friend. I give hope to friends and family always. The reason why we should always give hope is that it makes people feel warm and fuzzy inside and you get it too. I think that one of my character strengths is hope because I give hope to others and me in my everyday life.”
Modesty is about not showing off and knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
Modesty is like humility and people who show humility do not seek the spotlight, preferring to let their accomplishments speak for themselves. They do not regard themselves as special, and others recognise their modesty.
It is good to be confident in yourself and to always strive to be the best you can be. Yet, truly successful people strive not only to be their best, but to be great in how they treat others and celebrate their talents.
Humility is not just for the ball field, it is something to apply to every aspect of your life. It is about being courteous and saying “please” and “thank you” all the time, not occasionally. It is about being able to apologize to others even if you are just slightly in the wrong. It is also about listening and open to learning from others. Being humble is recognizing that everyone has different strengths and paying complements to other people.
“The Emporor’s New Clothes” is a classic Fairy Tale about an emperor who did not show modesty!