It’s no surprise that gratitude is known to improve both physical and psychological health. You can read up on all of those stats here.
We all know that stress and anxiety can take its toll on our mental and physical well-being. Still, if we implement a routine in which we practice gratitude daily, it can become a habit and clear our heads.
Moreover, teaching our students to find gratitude in their daily lives will help free up bandwidth for academics, not to mention better social-emotional skills and mindfulness.
To help you, and your students implement gratitude rituals, I’ve put together some tips to get you started.
First, make it a point to give yourself a few moments each morning to consider the things you’re grateful for.
And instead of thinking about the things you have that others don’t, really take time to think about what brings you joy.
Gratitude isn’t about feeling guilty for having things someone else doesn’t.
To remind yourself, set an alarm on your phone and label it Time to Feel Grateful.
Then, in the classroom, start every day off with a moment of gratitude with your students.
Ask students to take turns every day, sharing something that makes them feel thankful or to share something from their gratitude journal (more on this shortly).
Use a gratitude calendar and assign each student a day to share one thing they’re thankful for. This will help them think about gratitude outside of the classroom when they know that it’s almost their turn to share from their gratitude journal.
Make Daily Gratitude Something To See
Take to Pinterest and start saving quotes that fill you with gratitude. Then, create your own posters or simply print the quotes and plop them around your home, office, and even your classroom.
Take it one step further and make a gratitude board with your students. Ask them to find pictures of things they’re grateful for and make a collage of everything. Remind students, that when they’re feeling down, they can refer back to their gratitude board.
Teaching virtually? Use the collage as an activity students can do at home! Then, ask them to share their boards online with their classmates.
Daily Gratitude Journals
If you’re not the kind of person to stick to a routine, you might benefit from keeping a gratitude journal to keep you on track.
Find a gratitude journal online, print it out, and keep it next to your bedside. Then, as you wind down for the day, spend a few moments writing in your journal.
This is especially helpful if you’re someone who ruminates over stressors in the evening hours.
You can do the same for your students. Print out fun, customizable, gratitude journals and encourage students to use them when they’re feeling down or at the end of each day.
Add gratitude journals into the agenda at the beginning, or end, of the school day so students can get into the routine of using their new journals.
Remember to Dig Deep for Gratitude
Finding gratitude every day isn’t always easy. In fact, some days, it may feel impossible to drudge up something positive. But think of it like a muscle that you have to flex and practice with to get better and better at it.
Eventually, you’ll pick out recurring themes, and returning to the things you’re most grateful for will come naturally, even when you’re having a really crummy day.
And the same goes for your students, especially when things just don’t seem to be going their way. But if you can jump in and help them practice being thankful for the things that bring them joy in their lives, you’ll be helping them develop their own healthy mindful habits.