A couple of years ago I found the perfect app to help me focus a bit more on gratitude, and what a difference it has made in my life. During the day I find myself acknowledging gratitude, and often putting those thoughts and photos into the app that has really emerged as a daily journal of life's little things:
- snow cones with my daughters
- run with the team
- a great night of sleep
- a thank you wave from another driver
- a sincere smile from a cashier
- saying HI to my favorite homeless guy who has greeted me for years
Gratitude isn't that difficult when you're reminded about it daily. But what I've found over time is the way it helps me overcome the daily challenges and struggles that inevitably come with school leadership.
What I didn't know about gratitude when I started is that it over time, it changes one's brain. Many research reports have been conducted over the years, yet most focused on college students or those interested in participating in the studies who might have been in a good frame of mind. What impressed me in a recent article by The Greater Good is that gratitude has significant measurable impacts on those suffering from depression and anxiety.
After a mere four weeks of writing a letter of gratitude daily, those in the study reported significantly better mental health.
From sharing gratitude!
No meds involved!
And although it said those studied felt the same way, regardless of whether they mailed the letters or not, stop for a moment and think.
What if each of those was mailed?
What if each day, as school leaders, we wrote one note to a student? One note to a parent? One snippet to a staff member?
Wow. What a difference we could make in the lives of others. And then stop and loop back at the difference we make in our own lives.