Reflections

21

November

2018

21 November 2018

Gratitude is an incredibly important life skill. Science is showing us that learning (yes, it can be learned) to be grateful is a key component to a fulfilling and happy life.

In the U.S. this week, the nation is taking time to be thankful and grateful by celebrating Thanksgiving. I think it is a great holiday and its purpose is an important one. However, I would argue that the idea of being thankful a certain week of the year is not actually a good idea.

Before the Americans (and maybe some Canadians) in the community call for my head, let me explain; it’s not that I am against the concept that a nation takes time to be grateful. It is actually quite prudent for a society to do so. The problem is that we should not wait for one week each year to focus on being grateful for what we have. This should be something that we do all year round, even daily.

Gratitude is an incredibly important life skill. Science is showing us that learning (yes, it can be learned) to be grateful is a key component to a fulfilling and happy life. The amazing thing is that gratitude has so many benefits for those who intentionally practice it often:

  • Gratitude improves physical health
  • Gratitude improves psychological health
  • Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression
  • Grateful people sleep better
  • Gratitude improves self-esteem
  • Gratitude increases mental strength
  • Gratitude improves relationships

The list actually goes on with many more benefits for those who practice gratitude. As we take time off from school this week to rest, recharge, and prepare for the final four weeks of school, we should also intentionally take time to give thanks for all that we have. But let’s not stop there. From this point on, each week, let’s take time to be thankful. Let’s make gratitude something we do all year round and not during just one week. The good news is that if we do, we can all sleep better – and who in their right mind doesn’t want to get a better night’s sleep?!

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.
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