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To help students intentionally notice the positive elements in their day and shift the balance towards optimism
- Introduce the practice.
- We are going to take a few minutes, as a class, to share what we are grateful for today.
- I will start. Today I am grateful for…
- Give everyone a chance to contribute. Some students may choose to “pass” as this may be a new experience and will take time to feel comfortable with it.
- Gratitude journal (Positive motivation and perseverance)
- Kindness wall (Healthy relationship skills)
- Rather than sharing gratitude out loud, you may choose to have students write one to three things they are grateful for in a journal at the end of each day.
- This can also be done at the end of the day, either on a sticky note or verbally, and can be added to a classroom kindness wall or gratitude wall.
Gratitude is a concept related to the positive psychology movement and reflects the value that has been shown in holding an optimistic worldview. Many evidence-based programs that are designed to enhance optimism and reduce depressive symptoms have activities that help students to “find the silver lining”. Identifying gratitude and sharing it with another was found to benefit not only the individual but also the receiver (Kleinman, et al., 2013). Experiencing gratitude makes someone more likely to help others, possibly creating more opportunities for others to experience gratitude (Bartlett & DeSteno, 2006).
Bartlett, M. Y., & DeSteno, D. (2006). Gratitude and prosocial behavior: Helping when it costs you. Psychological science, 17(4), 319-325.
Kleiman, E. M., Adams, L. M., Kashdan, T. B., & Riskind, J. H. (2013). Gratitude and grit indirectly reduce risk of suicidal ideations by enhancing meaning in life: Evidence for a mediated moderation model. Journal of Research in Personality, 47(5), 539-546.
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