By Scott Garvis, CMAA
Bound AD in Residence
Gratitude isn’t a common habit, but without gratitude, life is more challenging than it needs to be. Feeling grateful resets your perspective, and this is a gift you can give yourself each day. If you find yourself feeling pessimistic or overwhelmed, a little gratitude can get your attitude back on the right track.
Gratitude is free, enjoyable, and effective.
Practice gratitude each day with these actions:
1. Write it down. Make a daily habit of writing down a few things that you can be grateful about. Ideally, you’ll do this early and late in the day. It gets your day off on the right foot and sets you up for a good night of sleep.
“No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” Alfred North Whitehead
2. Be grateful for the little things. There are plenty of small things you can be grateful for each day. A great cup of coffee, the sound of birds in the morning, or the fact that you have a new set of tires on your car can all uplift your mood.
3. Go for a gratitude walk. This is a great way to get out of your head. Go for a walk and look for things that you can be grateful for. A beautiful tree, a kid playing basketball at the park, a friendly neighbor, or a nice, cool breeze are all things you could choose to feel gratitude about.
4. Avoid making comparisons. When you compare one thing to another, you demean it. Be grateful for something exactly as it is. This applies to people and things.
5. Tell people you’re thankful. Show people that you’re grateful for thanking them. Whether it’s your colleague who puts in that extra effort or the cashier at the store. Be thankful and let them know about it.
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy
6. Enjoy your pet. Pets give us plenty of reasons to feel gratitude. Give your pet some extra attention. You’ll both feel great.
7. Donate your time or money. Give your resources to something that you think is valuable to the world. It could be a charity or other organization. Time and money can have a great impact.
“No one has ever become poor, by giving.” Anne Frank
8. Make a list of things that impress you about yourself. Have a little gratitude for yourself, too. What are you grateful for when you take a long, hard look at yourself? You’ll not only be expressing gratitude, but you’ll also be doing wonders for your self-esteem.
9. Write a positive review for a business you appreciate. Business owners love positive reviews. It makes them feel good and can boost their business. Be supportive and express your gratitude.
10. Reflect on the things that you’re grateful for. Put your focus and attention on those things you’re most grateful for. You might develop an even greater appreciation for them.
“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer
11. Minimize judging and complaining. Judging and complaining are the opposite of gratitude. People that do this aren’t enjoyable to be around, either. Keep your negative thoughts and opinions to yourself. Avoid judging others and you’ll find that you’re happier and less stressed.
12. Be thankful at meal times. Since you eat at least one meal each day, this a great way to develop a habit of expressing gratitude. Be grateful for your food and the people sharing it with you.
Be grateful for everything you have. Even if you’re struggling, you’re still living better than the vast majority of the world’s population. That doesn’t mean you have to be satisfied with your current situation, but you can still be grateful for what you do have.
Practice gratitude. Your mood and perspective will be lifted. Your opportunities for success will increase. And you’ll receive even more good things to be grateful for!
About Scott Garvis
Scott Garvis has been a leader and innovator in intercollegiate and interscholastic athletics development and fundraising for more than 25 years – as an athletics director, coach, association board member, adviser and editorial contributor.
Scott has a record of excellence as Athletics Director, Director of Activities and Assistant Principal, having led the athletics departments at six high schools or school districts in three states. He has achieved unparalleled success at all levels of high school athletics: large public school districts, a small public high school, a private school, and with state and national athletics administrator associations.