Kerry Howells

16 December, 2019

Gratitude for the imperfection of Christmas

How can you express sincere gratitude when a gift you are given is something you don’t like, if you feel it hasn’t been chosen with you in mind, or might even have been re-gifted? This situation can be hurtful, perhaps even causing damage to the relationship between you and the giver. However, gift-giving at Christmas time is a symbol of something much greater than the gift itself. It is a symbol of the relationship we have with the other person. Of course, we could overcome the complexities of gift-giving by approaching Christmas without any expectations, or make it more low-key […]
10 January, 2018

How thanking awakens us

I know that it’s been too long since I have written a blog. To tell you the truth, I have been caught up in that vicious cycle of giving myself a hard time about this and then not feeling inspired. I was giving myself all sorts of excuses like the busyness of the year, lots of travel, feeling pressured with other tasks. None of this rang true really because I love writing blogs. I have been reminded of the power of blogs through reading those of my students in my current Summer School unit, Gratitude in Education. A regular weekly […]
16 September, 2017

What is the difference between praise and gratitude?

Although praise can be a way of expressing gratitude, it is important to understand some of the differences between these two constructs and how these differences might play out in our lives. Praise is commonly defined as “expressing warm approval or admiration”. Gratitude, in the deep sense I use the term, is essentially “the art of acknowledging what we receive from another and giving back, but not necessarily in reciprocation”. In other words, inherent to gratitude is this giving and receiving dynamic. Praise can often be used to acknowledge the good points in another but not necessarily what we receive […]
6 September, 2017

Why does gratitude help us to feel calmer?

This year, I’ve had the good fortune to work on a research project investigating the outcomes of an increased focus on gratitude by educators in leadership roles in early childhood centres. This has been a collaborative project with my colleague, Dr Megan Gibson, from Queensland University of Technology and the Anglican Schools Commission, Brisbane. A common theme is arising from the interview data. When asked what is the biggest change they have noticed, most research project participants immediately respond with “I feel calmer”. I constantly hear responses like “I can’t believe how calm I feel” or “everyone around me is […]