Value of the week: Gratitude

Gratitude helps others to feel valued. Dr Kerry Howells

I’m sure, like me, you have been watching on the TV the amazing outpouring of gratitude for our UK National Health Service and other frontline workers.  Among others, Captain Tom activated this value within us with his authentic, modest and heartfelt appeal – now in excess of £21 million – for support for the NHS Charities.

Others globally, such as Lady Gaga inspired singers to give their talents in gratitude during the One World Together concert. I’m sure you too can think of other, more local acts of gratitude, shown by neighbours, children and others in your community to doctors, nurses, teachers, carers, the police, delivery people, utility workers and many other groups of frontline people.

Thanks to Elizabeth Huo for her painting

The value of gratitude expresses the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful. Gratitude is like a spotlight we shine on people who reflect the good aspects of life. By displaying it we actively recognise the worth of others for their selfless acts of kindness. Voices in the media are now emphasising the importance of our health service, reminding us that it is more important than riches or fame and deserves our universal respect and support.

Gratitude is an affirmation of goodness – it strengthens relationships, as we are seeing in random acts of kindness in our local communities.

Finally, gratitude is a wondrous value as it brings universal benefits to those who express it and to those who receive it. There is significant research evidence that highlights that by practising gratitude we improve our mental health – we become happier and less stressed, making us more resilient.  This is because gratitude has a powerful impact on our immune and cardiovascular systems – a great support as we face the challenge of Covid – 19.