Published: | By: Kim Gulbrandson Topics: Curriculum, Early Learning, Elementary, Middle School, Social-Emotional Learning Is Gratitude Lacking in Your Life? Try These Ideas for Bringing It Back Do you want to learn how to have more positive relationships and enhance emotional well-being? Are you looking to experience more positive emotions like enthusiasm and happiness, less sadness and stress, more success with social relationships, and more satisfaction with life overall? According to research, one way to increase your chances of achieving all of the above is to experience and express gratitude. Gratitude is simple in that it involves being thankful and showing appreciation. November is National Gratitude Month, so it’s a perfect time to think about how to foster gratitude personally and professionally, for yourself and for others. Try these pointers for increasing recognition of the good things. Gratitude Email Someone I know has a group of friends that’s committed to sending each other two gratitude emails a month. The emails are short and specific, such as “Thank you for listening to me talk,” or “‘I’m lucky to have you as a friend. You are so much fun to be around.” Consider trying this with family members, or having your teachers or students start a gratitude email campaign. Gratitude Visit or Call It’s easy to send a thank-you text, but consider the impact of taking extra time out of your day to make a special phone call or in-person gratitude visit. Think about someone you’ve been meaning to show appreciation for. Perhaps you forgot to do so, or you haven’t had the time. Make note of what you’d like to say and commit to a time. Chances are you’ll make that person’s day! Gratitude Letter Old school or not, don’t underestimate the power of writing and giving a handwritten, personal gratitude letter to someone you want to thank. It may help the other person sleep better or feel happier or less stressed that day; the person may even pay it forward and pass on the gratitude to someone else. Also consider writing a gratitude letter to yourself and hiding it away for safekeeping. Next time you have a bad day, pull it out and read it. Gratitude Journal We often don’t take enough time to pause to really notice gratefulness or allow ourselves to be grateful even when we don’t feel like it. A journal encourages both through deep, purposeful reflection. Spend a few minutes at the beginning or end of every day or week to write down personal stories in a gratitude journal. Write about how you showed or received gratitude or how you felt when expressing or receiving it. Write down all the things you appreciate and count them. Gratitude Picture Is writing not your thing? Do you like to doodle or draw? Then this could be the perfect way for you to express gratitude. Draw a picture of something or someone you feel grateful for, draw a plan for showing gratitude or create an image showing how you felt when someone told you they appreciated you. All these ideas encourage gratitude. Try them out, and give gratitude a chance in your life. Odds are that you’ll feel happier and more satisfied because of it. Learn more about gratitude at cfchildren.org.