In any educational setting - schools, colleges and even universities - it is important to create an environment that promotes positive mental health. The school environment is filled with opportunities for practicing gratitude which will improve the mental health of the whole school. There are social interactions, shared goals and teamwork; all of these situations are enhanced through the power of gratitude.
The power of gratitude helps to build a solid base, a positive platform of communication. When we practise gratitude, we can encourage our peers to express themselves freely. They will feel psychologically safe. In other words, everyone will feel able to express their opinions without fear of negative reprisals.
This starts with the teachers and other school staff, in every area of the school; gratitude will make the whole place a more positive one.
It is more than just saying 'thank you'; when we practise deep gratitude, we will be looking for acts of kindness to be thankful for, and this in turn will make us kinder.
It needs to start with the management and by acknowledging the work of others with expressions of appreciation, it validates the actions of staff and drives them forward to being even more productive in the future.
We can change the format and the order of meetings by starting with what went well; encouraging staff from the outset will help to soften the workload and encourage them to keep up the good work. This will help to increase job satisfaction as if we are part of a positive encouraging team, we are strengthened by the support network. This will reduce staff burnout and will also make the school more appealing to new recruits and aid staff retention.
The school needs to be a welcoming, safe and secure place for the students, where they will spend their formative years but with the staff it could be a major part of their lives for 10, 20 or even 50 years.
People are generally grateful, but there isn't always an obvious pathway to express positive feedback. There's always a pathway to complain but not always an easy pathway to give praise. If we create these positive pathways and normalise and formalise gratitude. If we make being grateful our default setting, we will strengthen the whole school system. When we are in this grateful mindset it will make expressing gratitude second nature. It doesn't take long to express gratitude, just a few minutes out of our day, but the results will be long lasting.
In the school setting we can implement practices of gratitude through gratitude walls, encouraging the whole school community to post messages to teachers, school staff and even fellow students.
Gratitude journals can really help us to improve our mental health; taking time each day to focus on the positives and the kindness of others will make our whole life view more positive.
We can install gratitude in our schools even further by setting up gratitude and wellbeing focussed workshops. Learning more about gratitude and how to implement it will benefit us by the development of new skills and it will help us to keep gratitude at the forefront of our minds and enable us to continue practising deep gratitude.
With the new and improved TAP App it makes the path to appreciation even easier as we are carrying the pathway to gratitude in our pockets. When we have a few minutes, maybe over a coffee or when we sit down and reflect at the end of the day, instead of dwelling on all the things that are negative and bad about today, if we focus on the positives and think about how kind someone was to us, we can make their day by sending a message of thanks!
Whether we are students, teachers or anyone working in a school, we can use the power of gratitude to make the whole environment a more positive one. We all need to put gratitude at the base of everything we say and do and really make the education sector a happy and mentally healthy place to be!
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