It’s the end of another year — this time, another decade, too — and with that, many of us will take pause to celebrate, reflect and make plans for the year (and decade) to come. We’ll ask ourselves questions like:
- How did I grow?
- What were my most memorable, stand-out moments?
- What was the best thing I learned?
- What was the single biggest challenge I overcame?
- What am I most proud of?
From our reflections, we’ll make our resolutions and step into the new year with positive intentions.
However, there’s one question that might just be one of the most overlooked and that is: What am I grateful for?
While gratitude might be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to everyday, the benefits of cultivating and practicing it are enormous. Some of those benefits include:
- Gratitude makes us happier: Studies have shown that a 5 minute a day gratitude journal can improve our long term well-being by over 10%. While the actual gratitude produced during those five minutes is small, the emotions of gratitude felt during that time are enough to trigger a grateful mood for the rest of the day. Essentially, practicing gratitude makes us feel more gratitude.
- Gratitude generates social capital: What that really means is that when we practice gratitude, we become kinder, friendlier and more likely to help others with their problems and offer emotional support. More friends = bigger community = more support to push the most important projects forward!
- Gratitude makes us more optimistic: The act of gratitude is the act of focusing on the good in life. If we perceive our current life to have more good, we will also believe our future life to have more good.
- Gratitude makes us more resilient: Those that have more gratitude have a more proactive coping style, are more likely to have and seek out social support in times of need and are more likely to grow in times of stress.
Cultivating Gratitude as One TSS
Three weeks ago we here at Teton Science Schools celebrated the first ever One TSS day. It was a day imagined over a year ago as a way to not only bring the entire organization together under one roof, but to celebrate the work of each and every employee, share our values, reflect and create new visions for where we, as individuals and an organization, want to go. This year — for our inaugural year — it was also a time for us to practice our gratitude. And we did bountifully.
Executive Director, Chris Agnew, opened the celebration with reflections on his own gratitude journaling and members of our executive team warmly invited each of us to share our tokens of gratitude with the rest of the organization. While a brave few took the stage early on, by the end of the afternoon, the room was pouring out with stories, thanks and even a few tears of joy and gratitude for the people who make our organization what it is. We culminated the day by writing letters to the people in our lives that we’re grateful for and taking the first ever One TSS group picture.
It was a day for the books and one that will be carried forward for years to come. One thing’s for sure: We are grateful for one another here at Teton Science Schools and grateful for all of the people outside of it that make it such a special place to work! Thanks to you and have a Happy New Year!