Gratitude. Serve It Up All Year

Blog · Nov 17, 2022

Thanksgiving is right around the corner bringing friends and family together to give thanks for what we have in each other and in life.  However, giving thanks needn't be reserved for turkey-day alone.  It doesn’t require turkey, parades, or even football to inspire gratitude. 

Gratitude Does the Body Good

Gratitude is a mindset.  Making gratitude a part of your daily routine enhances the empathy we have for others, promotes better physical health, and strengthens our ability to overcome the stumbling blocks we face during difficult times.  Giving thanks can have a soothing, relaxing effect on the mind and body.  Recognition can decrease blood pressure and improve immunity.  Expressing thanks can also strengthen your relationships and mitigate depression. 

Consider these steps you can take to get into the habit of expressing gratitude every day.   When you wake up in the morning, consider all that you have.  It only takes a moment.  Get into the habit of saying aloud three good things that happened on the previous day.  On the days when you simply can’t think of three positives, look for the silver linings in the negatives.  Updating a gratitude journal daily can help.  Make sure to thank your partner, your friends, your siblings, and your children for all they’ve done for you.  

Establishing Daily Gratitude Exercises at School

Since children look to adults to set and reinforce normative expectations, adults can serve as positive role models.  Gratefulness is a two-way street.  Ask children how they feel when they give thanks and why.  Children and teens who watch others share gratitude will be more likely to find ways to express it themselves. 

Saying something as simple as, “I really appreciate you volunteering to help me collect those quizzes,” or “Thank you for explaining the homework assignment to Sally since she went home sick yesterday,” is profoundly rewarding.

Have your students share something they’re grateful for each day.  Kids are no strangers to routine.  They know when and why each bell rings, they know when it’s time for recess and when it’s lunchtime.  They know (sometimes down to the second) when the tardy bell sounds.  Make it a part of your Monday morning routine to ask your students to share something they’re thankful for.  It will become more natural for them to be on the lookout for something else to be thankful for on Tuesday.

Establishing Daily Gratitude Exercises at Home

Finding opportunities to give thanks at home is as beneficial as it is at school.  Did the kids walk the dog without being asked first?  If so, be sure to thank them.  Did they show kindness to their siblings?  Gratitude is definitely in order then, too.  Find ways to give thanks to children and teens on a daily basis without expecting anything in return.  It’s a great way to suggest they seek out other opportunities on their own.  Plus, the recognition of your confidence in them will boost their confidence in you.

Expressing gratitude is thought to be one of the most powerful qualities in leading a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.  So give thanks for what you have every day.  It doesn’t cost a thing, and it feels so good.


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