It’s the Gratitude Season
With Thanksgiving upon us, we are more mindful of being grateful.
What would happen if we made gratitude part of our daily habit instead of just a Thanksgiving practice that is here and gone?
Studies show that cultivating gratitude as a practice can increase academic performance, decrease depression and anxiety, relieve stress and contribute to overall well-being. Wow—that is pretty impressive.
Would you like your kids to be more grateful? The best way to teach it is to model it.
Say thank you. Give a compliment. Express how grateful you are for your spouse, your child, your mother, your father and their presence in your life.
Gratitude is like a muscle that needs consistent work and exercise. When you exercise your gratitude muscle, all kinds of good things happen. Your load feels lighter. Your stress is reduced. People want to be around you.
So—how can you work this muscle?
- Start a gratitude journal. Write down 3 things every day that you are grateful for. You can even start this practice with your family and create a family journal.
- Vow not to complain, gossip or criticize.
- Give at least one compliment a day.
- Express gratitude to your spouse or significant other and your kids every day.
In our classrooms at Sand Hill School, an important part of our program is focused on social emotional learning (SEL). As part of SEL, we have a practice called ‘Kid of the Day.’ When a child is ‘Kid of the Day’ everyone in the class gives that child compliments and all those compliments are recorded for the child to keep. This practice occurs every day so that it becomes part of the regular routine and habit in our classrooms. This practice helps to exercise the gratitude muscle in our students—and our staff.
We have a tradition in our family around the Thanksgiving table, and many of you probably do, too. After dinner, as we are still sitting around the table, we each say one thing that we are grateful for. It’s so encouraging to reflect on all that we are grateful for—and to hear what others express, too. As we get up to clear the dishes and clean up the kitchen, the atmosphere seems a little lighter and brighter.
It makes me wonder—how much lighter and brighter would every day be if I made it part of my daily routine to be thankful?