The essential technique of mindfulness was explored in the previous issue of the Vision Journal. In this article we present a practical application of mindfulness for everyday life, focussing on the important concept of gratefulness.
The huge demands of the role of leader and teacher in schools today can lead to the feeling that, however hard we work, we are still not doing enough for our pupils. This can undermine our sense of well-being and affect our ability to perform at our best. The following technique encourages you to consider the things you are grateful for in your professional and private life, thereby helping to boost your self-esteem and make you a more robust education professional.
Three ways to celebrate being grateful
1) Morning coffee gratitude – start your day, as you drink your first cup of coffee (or tea, milk, fruit juice etc.), by reflecting on everything you are thankful for about the day ahead. For example you could consider:
- What you love about your job
- Something that you appreciate about the place in which you live
- The many joys your family will bring you today
- The companionship and love you will receive from your friends today, in many different ways
- Something about the natural world, or a hobby, that will bring you pleasure today
Try to enjoy a few minutes just focussing on how grateful you are for these things in your day ahead, and try your hardest to avoid thinking about anything negative that awaits you in your day.
2) Gratitude letter – write a letter to somebody (living or deceased) who has had a powerful positive influence on your life, but that you haven’t been able to thank fully. It could be anybody from a teacher or mentor from the past, to a grandparent or other family member. It doesn’t have to be a long letter but it’s vital that you explain how the person helped you. You could take things further by actually visiting the person in question and reading them your letter, face to face – this can be an amazingly powerful experience for both sides.
3) Gratitude journal – before you go to bed each night try to record at least three things about your day that you are grateful for, preferably in an attractive notebook that will slowly build into a powerful statement about all the positive things in your life. As you work on your gratitude journal you may find it helpful to ask yourself the following questions:
- What touched me today?
- Who or what inspired me today?
- Who was I especially pleased to have in my life today?
- What made me laugh or smile today?
- What’s the best thing that happened today?
Will is running a residential leadership retreat in April 2015. Limited places, so if you are interested contact us by email today for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org