Gratitude is a Superpower. For Real.
I like to think of Thanksgiving as an annual reminder that gratitude is a superpower. A 2016 study by researchers from Indiana University, the University of Denver, and the University of Mississippi found that a mindset of gratitude rewires our brains, strengthens our well-being, and positively impacts our relationships. It turns out that expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain, and practicing gratitude [it takes intentional work to develop the perspective that fuels the action] may contribute to improved mental health. When people feel grateful their brain activity is distinct, and those who are more grateful show increased neural sensitivity in the prefrontal cortex, associated with learning and decision making.
While I assume not many of our gatherings over this holiday will focus on the brain, I think this emergent research on gratitude is relevant for our shared work as parents/caregivers and educators. How might we help students practice gratitude and embrace the goal of developing the mindset, not for Thanksgiving but as a way of experiencing life?
On behalf of the NPES faculty and staff, I wish you and yours a joyful and restorative Thanksgiving. We are grateful for your trust, your kindness, your questions, ideas, and generous support of our school, giving often of your time, talent, and treasure for the benefit of every student. We never take this inclusive and affirming community for granted. Thank you, all.
John Novick, Jr.
Head of School