Time for Gratitude | Steve Barkley

Time for Gratitude

What are you grateful for? A question on a napkin with a cup of espresso coffee.

It’s always the right time to think about gratitude. A post in Psychology Today identifies these benefits:

  • Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
  • 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.

In a recent podcast that I posted for parents on developing gratitude, I shared this statement from Martin Seligman, a well-known researcher in positive psychology.

“Gratitude is a very powerful thing. And when we look at people’s strengths and we correlate different strengths with happiness (gratitude, kindness, prudence, self-control) the single strength that correlates the most with happiness is gratitude. Grateful people are naturally happy.“

In the past few months, I have experienced being on the receiving end of gratitude. Two emails arrived from educators whom I have not had contact with for many years. Both shared some recent advancements in their careers and extended an appreciation for mentorship that I had provided years earlier. Another individual posted a tweet that said it was 10 years earlier that as a teacher she was introduced to PLCs in a workshop I conducted and that lead to her ongoing study and work as an instructional coach today. They all received notes back from me letting them know, “They made my day!” Happiness, generated from the notes, supports me on those days that I am pondering what I could possibly prepare for another blog or podcast, or when I am setting the alarm to start a 3 am (my time) virtual session on another continent.

The research on gratitude identifies that keeping a gratitude journal increases happiness. Sharing your gratitude response and thanks lengthens the impact on your happiness. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to share some things from my gratitude journal.

  • If you value listening to my podcasts and/or reading the blogs, join me in recognizing the talents and efforts of Joe Jacobs who works the sound magic erasing my bloopers on podcasts, Ashley Jankowski who lays out, schedules, and post the blogs and Lorene Malanowski who arranges connecting schedules frequently in three different time zones. There’d be nothing on BarkleyPD.com without the three of them. Thanks!
  • I have great gratitude for all the authors, bloggers, and podcasters who are constantly sharing their research, experiences, and insights. You’ll note that nearly all my posts are peppered with links to the work of others. Sometimes they spark my initial ponderings and sometimes I search for reinforcement or extension of an idea I’m developing.
  • A big thank you to the guests who have joined me on podcasts and at times provided guest blogs. Too many to name here, but I am grateful for all their contributions.
  • I really value the educators in my coaching sessions and virtual facilitations who often make themselves vulnerable by sharing their struggles. They invite me to be a learning partner allowing me to gain knowledge, skills, and insights that I can pass on to others. The opportunity to learn is a gift.

Well, there’s a peek into my gratitude journal. I found this little resource that might spur your thoughts on where to spread your gratitude. It comes from Jeff Utecht at Shifting Schools, who exchanged podcast interviews with me earlier this year. While it offers templates that students could use, I found myself applying the guiding questions to my work with educators.
Thanks for reading. Wishing you a joyful learning and teaching year!

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