gratitude_blog_imageWith Thanksgiving right around the corner, November is the perfect time to celebrate the character strength of Gratitude. Join us as we take the month of November to focus on Gratitude.

VIA defines Gratitude this way:

“If Gratitude is your top strength you are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express thanks.”

Gratitude falls under the virtue category of Transcendence. Transcendence describes strengths that provide a broad sense of connection to something higher in meaning and purpose than ourselves.

There are two types of gratitude:

  • Benefit-triggered gratitude: the state that follows when a desired benefit is received from a benefactor.
  • Generalized gratitude: the state resulting from awareness and appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to yourself.

There are two stages of gratitude:

  • Acknowledging the goodness in your life
  • Recognizing the source of this goodness is outside yourself

I took the VIA survey for a second time recently. I was curious to see how my strengths had changed, it had been two years since I last took the VIA survey. This time around I had undergone a significant change in my life and wondered if it would be reflected in the results. Gratitude had not been a top strength of mine the first time around. But it was this time. When I started to reflect on the changes in my life over the course of this last year and the ways I have learned to cope, it really wasn’t surprising to see this change in results. I had become much more intentional in my use of Gratitude. I had to pull on it more in order to remain positive with all the change going on. Gratitude became something I needed to exercise in order to withstand all of the extreme shifts that I was experiencing.

Here are some things I have discovered that boost gratefulness and encourage me to have an attitude of gratitude.

  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Avoid complaining
  • Say thank you, and mean it
  • Set aside time daily to appreciate and reflect on something good from your day, even if it was a lack luster day you are bound to find something good
  • Prayer
  • Write thank you notes

I asked some of my friends via social media about how they use gratitude and how it impacts them, here are some of the responses I received.

“At Children’s we have care slips on our unit where if someone does something nice we write a care slip for them and they can turn it in for some candy. Plus, the original slip goes to their manager so they get kudos that way too. It’s nice to know you’re appreciated. And of course when it comes time for yearly reviews it’s nice for management to see that you’re a good team player. Plus, who doesn’t love getting candy! And of course it really promotes teamwork because we are all really good at making sure we appreciate each other and acknowledge people’s contributions. Definitely makes a really friendly nice work atmosphere. And considering what we do, sometimes we really need a reason to smile. ”

Katie Vale-Freeburg, NICU Nurse, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

“I start my day with gratitude in prayer! This sets the tone for the day and it helps me not be angry when my rights are trampled on. It makes me to know that God sends me those folks for a reason and it is my job to love them.”

Amy Hoh, Certified Public Procurement Officer, Council on Aging

“I try to thank God each day for all he has given me!”

-Maria Schoeppner, Intervention Specialist, St. William School

Here at Mayerson Academy we do gratitude really well. We use something called strengths spotting cards. We are encouraged to fill them out and give them to colleagues as we notice them using their strengths. They make an amazing gift to give or receive and produce a really positive impact on our environment. Practicing gratitude and being on the receiving end of gratitude definitely increases the feelings of happiness and value.

For the entire month of November, I have decided to practice gratitude by verbally expressing thanks to people in my life at least once a day. How will you practice gratitude? Join me in celebrating gratitude this month.

For more information on VIA Institute on Character or to take the free survey visit: http://www.viacharacter.org