First, gratitude is an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.
Second , we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.
Practicing affirmations of goodness doesn’t mean we ignore problems, complaints, burdens, and hassles. When we learn to look at life as a whole, gratitude helps us to us to look deeply at the good in our lives. When we recognize the sources of goodness are outside of ourselves, we are get out of ego and self-pride. We learn to practice humility. We realize true gratitude involves a humble dependence on others to help us achieve goodness in our lives.
We can teach learners to have an attitude of gratitude by integrating the two key components of gratitude into the learning process. Begin with a Gratitude Journal. Each week learners list five things, from what they learned, for which they are grateful for. When learners consciously and intentionally focuses their attention for which they are grateful, they become more open to learning, and begin to end ungrateful thoughts.
At the beginning of each week of class have learners reflect on what they are grateful for from the previous week. Throughout the week you can offer concrete reminders. For example you could have an “Attitude of Gratitude” synchronous discussion where students share their experiences of how they freely give what they have received. This not only teaches the importance of gratitude but also “pays it forward” by giving to others in like they have received.
Also it is important to think outside of the box when it comes to gratitude. Create creative activities that incorporate gratitude into the learning process. For example you could have learners write a poem on gratitude. Here is a poem on being thankful you can read as a daily positive affirmation.
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown ~
When learning is a gift and not something to be taken for granted, learning becomes new and exciting. People who live a life of thankfulness experience life differently than people who cheat themselves out of life by not being grateful.
Finally, gratitude is good for you. Scientists have begun to chart a course of research aimed at understanding gratitude and are finding people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
- Stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure;
- Higher levels of positive emotions;
- More joy, optimism, and happiness;
- Acting with more generosity and compassion;
- Feeling less lonely and isolated.