This August - The power of gratitudeAug 30, 2022
As many of us are coming to the end of summer and gearing up for a new school year, these sunny August days have us reflecting on a season of time spent together, feeling joy and sometimes practicing resilience.
More than anything, we’re feeling grateful. This week, we’re especially grateful for educators, many of whom are going back to school, for bringing their caring, creativity, and strength to our schools. We’re grateful to be able to spend time in person and share joy and idealism as a team.
Gratitude is a constant attitude of thankfulness for life as it unfolds. Even - and especially - in the face of adversity, elevating life’s daily gifts is a restorative practice that has more power than many of us realize.
Studies show that gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. It can improve sleep quality by 25% and increase our chances of maintaining new friendships. When practiced in the workplace, it can promote excellence, retention, and engagement.
However, let’s be real: it can be off-putting, and even tone deaf, to hear “Just focus on the positive!” During this month’s Community Leadership Connection Circle, members shared a view that being prescribed gratitude and a “look on the bright side” does not honor their journeys. So, how can we practice and elevate gratitude - while honoring the resilience, strength, and sheer grit it’s taken us to get through life’s challenges, especially during pandemic times?
One way to do that is by Speaking the Language of Virtues, one strategy of The Virtues Project. Celebrating others for the good you see in them is one way to embody and spread this antidote of appreciation and thankfulness- without prescribing it.
We extend gratitude for your strength, resilience, joy, and commitment to bettering the world. Thank you for being a part of our community.
We’d love to hear from you: how are you, really? What’s on your heart and mind? And, as the season comes to a close: What are you grateful for?
With joy and gratitude,
The Team at Virtues Matter
Virtues in Action
Youth Wellbeing with Shepherd: This month, Dave, Dara, and Chopper had the opportunity to facilitate a Youth Leadership workshop with dedicated young leaders at The Stubblefield Institute at Shepherd University. We discussed how humanity is an essential part of youth leadership and explored the mental health epidemic that is deeply affecting young people? Together, we dove into how to restore hope, appreciation, and excellence as a youth leadership practice. To learn about our services for restoring connection and wellbeing for youth, leaders, educators, and beyond, connect with us here.
WEAVE Baltimore: Our partners at Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute have a powerful mission: We have a crisis of connection in this country. People feel isolated, unseen and in warring camps….Weave supports the many Americans in every community who are working to create social trust and weave neighbors together to strengthen their communities. This month, Virtues Matter co-founder Dave had the opportunity to facilitate the orientation for the Baltimore 2022 Weave Award Winners, an exceptional group of leaders who care about making great communities and neighborhoods.
Community Engagement at CLC: How is gratitude an essential part of a community leader’s toolbox? This month at CLC, we discussed the power of appreciation in community work, the complex response many of us feel when told to “just be grateful,” the culturally different ways that people show gratitude worldwide, and how gratitude as a mindset is a sign of resilience during times of adversity rather than an indicator of thankfulness for good times alone.