We have always known the importance of looking after our own physical health. Getting regular exercise, eating properly and getting plenty of sleep are part of our daily routines. We also need to take care of our mental and emotional health. Expressing gratitude needs to be added to our mindfulness and wellbeing practices. Gratitude and appreciation always have a positive effect on the giver as well as the receiver.
Sam Hart from TeachStrong says:
I don't know a single person who has introduced a gratitude practice who has regretted it or said it was a waste of time.
There are also wider implications of gratitude on the wider community; through communication and support we can build stronger communities.
Gratitude is important in the community because it brings us into direct contact with ourselves and others. It gives us a higher level of achievement and connectivity. Gratitude brings people together and amplifies our collaborative efforts. This leads to improved outcomes in the community
Gratitude deepens relationships, it opens our hearts to surprise, sustains resiliency, and supports innovation. Practices of gratitude and appreciation can build our participation in community efforts, by increasing citizen, volunteer, employee capacity, thereby leading to more enduring and sustainable community triumphs.
Curiosity about the achievements of others can strengthen relationships by opening a conversation that gives us more opportunities to express gratitude.
Gratitude and appreciation extend our personal capacities, enrich our relationships in community, and allow us to further integrate our programme goals. Feeling gratitude and appreciation shifts our perspective from our own subjective view as single, isolated individuals into an expanding flow of relationships and unfolding possibility. Where our own feelings, fear or self-doubt would hold us back, feeling gratitude and appreciation help move us forward.
By establishing deeper contact with our community, we focus on what is working at that moment, it takes us away from our own single mindedness and feel more integrated into our community and more connected to the world around us. It leads us to seeking rewards that are beyond the material rewards.
Gratitude increases in community settings that are reliant on volunteers as people who are investing their time rely more heavily on the appreciation of others. Younger people are less and less motivated by financial gain and more driven by recognition which leads to job satisfaction.
Gratitude practices can provide the giver and the receiver with a sense of well-being. And this can create a chain of gratitude - one where the person who receives our gratitude extends their gratitude or appreciation back to us, and out to others. Each person is thus enriched, as they expand their expressions and receptions of gratitude.
Offering and receiving authentic appreciation can build trust, a sense of belonging, and a desire for inclusion and participation in a programme or project.
In community settings, gratitude and appreciation can enhance interactions. They can bring us into positive contact with others. They help deepen relationships and motivate individuals and teams and unite groups toward a shared purpose. Expressions of gratitude and appreciation help to build trust between people and groups. As gratitude focusses on a particular moment in time, we can share anecdotes of appreciation, we draw from our past to illuminate a brighter future.
From the outset gratitude and appreciation provide a foundation for community building to occur. The state of gratefulness may also open our minds to learning new things and listening to new points of view.
Gratitude can be used to welcome and encourage new members in our community. If we warmly greet and take a genuine interest in new members' strengths and achievements, we can create opportunities for expressing gratitude from the very start of our conversations.
In these times of deep social, economic, and technological transition, it's heartwarming to know that we can freely draw upon the power of something as ancient and elemental, as accessible and portable, as gratitude. Practices of gratitude offer inner strength, and guidance; they enrich how and why we come together in community.
It really is as simple as recognising and appreciating the efforts of others, or as one person radiating their open and whole-hearted connection first into themselves, and then out into the world around them.
The power of gratitude intensifies and amplifies the path before us. It shines a light onto our present and future opportunities both as independent beings and as part of a larger community. Our actions of gratitude bring us into connection with others and into active, purposeful behaviour. It helps us and those around us to strengthen the community ties that are so essential to our well-being.
You can listen to the accompanying TAP Radio Show here: https://soundcloud.com/thankandpraise/education-radio-show-may-2022