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Strength of the Week – Gratitude

November is National Gratitude Month. While Kindness does help protect us against choices that can hurt or offend, we also know that gratitude helps us to build stronger relationships with other people- to know, value and care for them, which of course makes us happier. Science tells us that when we are grateful we become more willing to help others and to overcome hurt, which helps us all get along better, and it enhances our physical and emotional wellbeing too!

When people are grateful to us it helps us to feel valued; and we all like to feel valued- it’s one of the principles on which social media ‘likes’ are founded, that makes them so compelling. Being validated and appreciated is important to us as people as it helps affirm our purpose. Most of us are quite grateful, but we can sometimes overlook thanking those who have had the biggest impact on our lives. Research tells us that thanking those we are most grateful to and explaining what we are grateful for, is one of the best ways to ‘grow’ happiness – theirs and ours.

Unfortunately, at times when things don’t go the way we’d prefer, it can be easy for us to fall into the pitfall of focusing on the negative. This can consume us and be very damaging to our wellbeing. Our inbuilt ‘negativity bias’ takes care of this to some degree. But it’s harder for us to fall into this trap when we train our brains look at life through the lens of gratitude. Give it a try! Try at least three positives to one negative! Five is even better!

This week, as we seemed to be racing towards the Christmas season and the end of the year, Year 7 students were reminded at Mass with Fr Paul McCormack about the importance of being grateful, with the Gospel reading (Luke 17:11-19) which described the healing of 10 people suffering from Leprosy, and the Samaritan who stopped to be thankful. This week classes are encouraged to really stop and think about who they are grateful to/for, and to take action to personally thank that person for making a difference to their life. In the Gospel reading at Mass, Jesus also indicates us the importance of helping those who are less fortunate, or those who are suffering. As students take this time to explore their blessings more, who knows what magic will unfold? Without doubt, some of that magic will be directed at helping those less fortunate in the Vinnies and Hutt St Appeals, as we are always very generous in supporting this important mission at this critical time of year.

They say it takes 21 days to change a habit for the better. Enlighten Education, a wonderful organisation which works with our students in Year 7 to 9, offers a challenge to enhance our gratitude at this link: https://theparentswebsite.com.au/the-attitude-of-gratitude/

Have a wonderful weekend ahead, making a point of pausing to be grateful for the tiniest of blessings!

Tonia Carfora, Year 7-9 Wellbeing Initiatives Leader