An Attitude of Gratitude

Thanksgiving: the time of year for family and friends to gather around the dining room table to embrace an attitude of gratitude. Many are thankful for family, friends, and of course– a delicious, hot Thanksgiving feast. 

What is Gratitude?

Gratitude can be defined as having a thankful appreciation for what we have. Being grateful changes our perspective and focuses on what we already have instead of what we lack. There are a few different ways people often express gratitude:

  1. Retrospectively – Thankful for past, positive experiences and memories.
  2. Present – Not taking your current situation for granted.
  3. Future – Hopeful and optimistic about future experiences to come.

Why is Gratitude Important?

Per Harvard Health Publishing, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” 

Furthermore, there is ample scientific evidence that supports these claims, like this study by McCraty and colleagues (1998) where adults were taught to “cultivate appreciation and other positive emotions.” The results? Participants experienced a reduction in cortisol, suggesting that people with an “attitude of gratitude”, do in fact, experience lower levels of stress (Positive Pyschology, 2020).

We’re sold! But wait… why are we so often only focused on expressing gratitude once a year around the Thanksgiving table? If we know that gratitude has social, emotional, and physical benefits, why wouldn’t we want to make it a daily practice in our lives? Well, we couldn’t agree more. So let’s talk about how we can foster an attitude of gratitude 365 days a year:

How to Cultivate Gratitude:

  • Power of ‘thank you’ – It feels nice to be appreciated, doesn’t it? Not just by your spouse or partner, but by your boss, coworkers, and the lady at the store who you held the door open for. Say it or write it, it doesn’t matter. SBy simply thanking others shows your appreciation for them, however small or big their impact is or was in your life. Watch this TED talk, “365 Days of Thank You”, to get inspired.
  • Journaling – Put pen to paper and write ONE thing you are grateful for each day. Whether it is a hot cup of coffee you didn’t have to warm up in the microwave 3 times that day, or your family’s health during the pandemic this year.
  • Meditation – Be intentional – set aside a few minutes each morning or each night before bed to sit in the quiet, close your eyes, and reflect on what it is in your life that you are grateful for.

So this Thanksgiving, instead of just ‘giving thanks’ at the dinner table, share this message: gratitude is powerful. Make it known that you’re going to try to incorporate gratitude into your day-to-day and challenge those around you to do the same. And on behalf of the ES team who is always grateful for all of our hard-working teachers, therapists, and administrators– Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Teachers and therapists! Explore this concept of gratitude with your students this holiday season. with these ES exclusive freebies:

Did you know Everyday Speech has thousands of materials with lessons covering Self-Management topics such as Choosing Calm, Managing Stressors, and Maintaining Self-Control? Join 14,000+ other educators who are using our platform today!

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