At Coomera Anglican College, gratitude is key to improving the health and wellbeing of their students. Here’s why…
Did you know, every language in the world has a way of saying “thank you”. This could be because gratitude is an inherent quality that resides within each and every human being. Gratitude spans a multitude of boundaries – faith, age, vocation, gender and nationality – and it’s a concept close to the hearts of those at Coomera Anglican College, especially teacher Nicola Evison.
“It is difficult to define the idea of gratitude explicitly, but I like to think of it as acknowledging positive things that come our way which we have not actively worked towards, or asked for,” Nicola explains. “Gratitude is both an emotion which arises spontaneously within us and is also a choice we make – being grateful or ungrateful. It is something we can work on and ‘train’ ourselves to become better at recognising.”
A study conducted by the University of California professor Robert Emmons and his colleague, Dr Michael McCullough, of the University of Miami, asked all participants to write a few sentences each week, focusing on particular topics. One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative).
“After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation,” Nicola explains.
“The idea of training our brains to become more grateful is something we will be undertaking as a whole College this term,” Nicola says. “All students will contribute to improving their wellbeing by writing and delivering a gratitude letter, or a variation on this theme. There will also be different incentives happening in the lead up to this day in the different College campuses – keep watching our social media channels for more!”
Students, teachers, staff and parents of Coomera Anglican College are encouraged to practice gratitude throughout their daily life. Their “30 days of gratitude” program is happening right now on their Facebook page. Members of the College community are invited to share all the things they are grateful for. The school’s aim is to educate the ‘whole’ person to help them flourish in all aspects of their life.
Coomera Anglican College’s tips on how to find gratitude;
- Have your own gratitude journal
- Discuss things you are grateful for, together as a family (at dinner, in the car etc)
- Encourage each other to find gratitude, even when it feels like only bad things have happened (these days are the most powerful)
- Download Azasu app (www.azasu.me)
- Follow “The Gratitude Project” page on Facebook for encouragement and inspiration