Monday, November 12, 2007

Showing Gratitude Can Help You Live Longer

I am reading a great book called thanks! How the new science of gratitude can make you happier by Robert A. Emmons. He talks about how keeping a gratitude journal for as little as three weeks can help you sleep better and help you have more energy. I can’t believe I have finally found a book that reinforces what I have always believed in. The author states that “if we consciously remind ourselves of our blessings, it should become harder to take them for granted and adapt to them. “

I made my students write in a journal every day and I didn’t stress punctuation and spelling. For this type of journal I felt that the content was more important. Of course they fussed about doing this at first but when I remained adamant about the assignment, they did it without complaining. I told them that one day a week they had to write things that they were grateful for and why. After lengthy discussions, I realized what a negative attitude my students had. In this book it states, “Gratitude is an attitude” and I believe that is so true. By doing this activity, I hoped to change their attitudes.

All year long, we kept a journal and I was really thrilled how the kids would come up with different things they were grateful for. It even opened up some very insightful discussions about their lives. By sharing some of these things, many students found out that they had a lot more in common that they thought. This actually helped build some bonds between the students and myself which made the class feel much like a small family. Behavior issues decreased and teamwork actually increased.

This activity didn’t cost extra money, got the kids involved in writing which in turn helped their reading skills, built teamwork skills, and improved behavior. I couldn’t ask for a better lesson to serve different purposes.

1 comment:

Joel said...

They sure like to complain whenever they think they can get their way. And I also find that usually when we stick with something, it will end up working.

The problem is that we either quit too soon, or we don't quit soon enough. The art of knowing when to quit is key.