October Spotlight: Developing Gratitude
Gratitude is a spontaneous feeling but, increasingly, research demonstrates its value as a practice—that is, making conscious efforts to count one’s blessings. Studies show that people can deliberately cultivate gratitude—and there are important social and personal benefits to doing so. It is possible to feel grateful for loved ones, colleagues, animals, nature, and life in general. The emotion generates a climate of positivity that both reaches inward and extends outward.
According to an article for Psychology Today Canada there are several benefits, People who are grateful feel less pain, less stress, suffer insomnia less, have stronger immune systems, experience healthier relationships, and do better academically and professionally. Overall it can boost both your mental and your physical health. Read more about gratitude in this article.
The Following Are Tips to Foster Gratitude
- Keep a journal of or in some way note big and little joys of daily life.
- Write down “three good things”—identify three things that have gone well for you and identify the cause.
- Write thank-you notes to others.
- Think about people who have inspired you and what about them was most significant.
- Engage in “mental subtraction.” Imagine what your life would be like if some positive event had not occurred.
Try the following gratitude journal activity and over the course of a few weeks look back at what you have been able to be grateful for and see how it has affected your overall mental health and relationships in your life. I also encourage you to do the 365-day challenge of what you are grateful for, you can continue with a journal or take pictures.
Three Good Things A Daily Strategy for Well-Being
What is the Strategy?
- Three Good Things is a simple strategy to help focus on the positive things that happen in our day.
- When we see the good things that occur every day, we shift our thinking to something more positive, increasing our mental wellness and raising our overall satisfaction with life.
- Take some time to think of some positive things that have occurred in your day. (If it is early in the morning think about the day before).
- It can be very simple things like: enjoyed a hot bath, read a magazine, felt the warm sun on my face or my child smiled at me.
- Write (or draw) three of these positive things on the activity sheet (next page). Think about why it was good; reflect on what role you had in it.
- Do this activity once a day for the next week. If you forget one day, just start again the next day.
- Think about when would be a good time for you to write down Three Good Thinks that happened today? Maybe in the evening, maybe before bed or maybe when you first wake up in the morning?
- Where would be a good place for you to leave your Three Good Things lists? Some people leave them beside their bed and others keep them in a special box, what will work best for you?
How Can I Use This With Others?
- Show your partner, friends, and family and teach them the strategy.
- Parents can do this activity with their children by having them discuss three good things that have happened in their day; encourage them to also write down or draw their Three Good Things. Discuss the benefits to doing this every day.
- Taking the time to think about and write down three good things about your day helps you think more positively about your life and in turn helps your well-being.
- Focusing on the positives in your life can increase happiness and a sense of well-being.
- When people remember to talk about the good things in life and things they are grateful for, this can also help other people learn to think about good things.
- Do every day to bring more happiness and health to your day – keep up the good work!
When we nurture a life with gratitude it allows us to grow our mindset in a positive direction. It gives us the strategies to challenge our negative thoughts. Our relationships with our family, friends, co-workers, and other day to day interactions become deeper. Gratitude also creates space for us to love ourselves and focus on internal positive self talk. If you struggle with depression, I suggest that you look at the events page on our Care For ALL In Education web portal and check out our upcoming workshop “Looking at Depression”, on https://careforallineducation.com/. You will learn how to use gratitude to deal with depression.