November Welcomes First-Ever ‘Gratitude Month’ at Santa Clara
By Tracy Seipel
#GratefulSCU22 kicks off Nov. 1 and runs through Nov.30, reminding all of us to reflect each day on someone, or something, for which we are grateful.
Assistant professor of management Hooria Jazaieri M.A. ’10 thinks a lot about gratitude, and for good reason: It’s a big part of her academic work on how people regulate their emotions, from hope to compassion to joy.
Yet, she says, studies show most of us either take gratitude for granted, or rarely think about it at all.
“When you ask people to talk about what emotions they experienced today, or select from a list which emotions they experienced today, less than half of the sample will say that they experience gratitude on a daily basis,” says Jazaieri. “Which makes me feel really sad.”
Jazaieri wondered if Santa Clara could offer the campus community a gratitude-based intervention to help people feel better and less stressed about school or work.
At a summer task force meeting hosted by Vice Provost for Student Life Jeannie Rosenberger on reimagining mental health at Santa Clara, Jazaieri proposed the idea of a gratitude month during November, the same month Thanksgiving is celebrated in the U.S. With the support of SCU leaders including Rosenberger and Assistant Provost for Strategic Initiatives Melissa McAlexander, Jazaieri this week helped launch Santa Clara’s first Gratitude Month, meant to remind everyone on campus to celebrate someone or something with gratitude every day.
Students, faculty, and staff are all invited to participate, guided by a daily online calendar of #GratefulSCU22 events and opportunities. An online “take action toolkit” offers the SCU community ways to express gratitude about something or someone on campus, as well as how to show their support.
Ideas and events include research-backed practices such as a daily online gratitude journal, thank you card writing stations, a gratitude meditation and Examen, and more.
No matter how someone chooses to participate, “it’s important that you are your own research laboratory,” says Jazaieri. “Try this out in your own life. See whether you feel different about school or work, about your relationships, about the way you see the world.”
For her part, McAlexander is excited about the month ahead, and the list of activities she believes can help everyone at SCU be more intentional in developing some regular gratitude practices.
“Having a daily prompt makes it easy to be engaged, and the practices fit easily into a busy schedule,” says the assistant provost. “There are benefits not only for the person practicing the gratitude, but for the recipient.”
She's particularly interested in trying the online gratitude journal challenge on thnx4.org.
“I’ve heard of the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal, but I’ve never actually tried one before. This seemed like a good reason to give it a try.”
Assistant professor of management Hooria Jazaieri.