A growing body of research is looking at the positive impacts of gratitude. Harvard Mental Health newsletter detailed the connections between gratitude practices and individual well‐being, employee motivation, happiness, and fundraising initiatives. Gratitude feels good, motivates us, makes us happier, increases our generosity, and is equally beneficial to both giver and receiver.If you're ready to get started, here's five ways you can cultivate this practice:Start your day with gratitude. Start your morning with a list of five things for which you're grateful. Try to do this for at least one month to make it a consistent habit. Want a challenge? Aim to never repeat an item on your list for that month.Remember the middle. In my former role as the director of student success at a community college, one of my responsibilities was to manage the early‐warning letter process, where we notified students in danger of failing a course. I realized we were focusing a lot of energy on these students (rightly so) but giving no attention to those who were succeeding. I imagined the top 10 percent of students were probably receiving the boost they needed through their high grades, but what about the students in the middle? To reach them, I asked our faculty to send me the names of one or two students who weren't necessarily the strongest in the course, but rather had shown improvement or overcome a challenge. Then, we emailed these students to praise them for their hard work. The responses I received from students were profound and inspiring. Consider creating a system that helps to notice this often‐invisible population and express gratitude to them for choosing your campus. You'll be amazed at how much gratitude you receive in return.Reclaim your email. Take a moment to scan your sent email folder. When was the last time you sent an email, not to ask for something, check on the status of a project, or set up a meeting, but rather to just say, “Thank you.” Aim to send at least one gratitude email each day — just a quick note that doesn't ask or answer any questions. There's a saying in the neuroscience field that says, “We wire what we fire.” As a leader on campus, you'll likely notice that not only are you rewiring your own brain for positivity, but you're also influencing your institution's entire culture toward gratitude.Perform a gratitude audit. Students come to campus with academic, social, mental, and emotional needs. In our desire to meet those needs, it's easy to lose focus of the fact that these same students also bring gifts in the form of creativity, energy, ideas, and wisdom. The same student who is struggling to pass their remedial math course might also have survived life challenges that have instilled them with a sense of justice and grace. We can choose to look at students as needy. We can just as readily choose to be grateful that they chose us. What messages do you send to student‐athletes about how you feel about them? Do you regularly thank student‐athletes? If you're focusing only on what they're taking, you're missing a chance to notice what they're giving. Remember too that how your faculty and staff treat student‐athletes is modeling for them how you'd like them to treat you. Show them gratitude, and you'll receive it in return.Talk back to stress. How many times a day do you notice a negative thought enter your mind or stressful energy create tension in your body? Gratitude can help to stop stress in its tracks and begin to rewire your mind toward positivity. The next time life doesn't go as planned, pause, take a deep breath, and call to mind something for which you're grateful: “I am thankful for my health. I am thankful for access to clean water. I am incredibly grateful for the person in the cafeteria who makes sure we have hot coffee.” You might even wish to speak your gratitude out loud or write it down. Very often, this small act can help to shift your mindset in less than a minute.This was adapted from an article that appeared in Women in Higher Education, also published by Jossey‐Bass, A Wiley Brand. For more information on that publication, please go to http://wihe.com/.Need more issues of College Athletics and the Law?Quantity subscriptions for College Athletics and the Law are available at a discount. Contact Customer Service at (800) 835‐6770 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.Number of subscriptionsDiscountPrice of each print subscription1–40%$ 239.005–930%$ 162.4010–2935%$ 159.8030–4940%$ 139.2050–9950%$ 116.00100–24960%$ 92.80250+70%$ 69.60
College Athletics and the Law – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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