Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

Recently, I have found myself studying the concept of gratitude.  I have been looking at which leaders practice it, what they say the effects seem to be, and what I notice about practicing it in my own life.  An online article in Psychology Today even has this to say about gratitude...

It opens the heart and activates positive emotion centers in the brain.  Regular practice of gratitude can change the way our brain neurons fire into more positive automatic patterns. The positive emotions we evoke can soothe distress and broaden our thinking patterns so we develop a larger and more expansive view of our lives.  

When I arrived at school today my mind was buzzing with all sorts of ideas.  What I decided to do was to introduce the concept of gratitude to my class and see what their reaction was.   Then I went over to our over-sized white board and wrote attitude of gratitude on it.  I wrote three things that I had been grateful for just this morning.  The result of creating the attitude of gratitude white board was that it was completely filled by the children before the end of the day.  The wonderful thing was that I told them they did not need to do anything and it was not a requirement, it is only their as an option if they would like to do it.

Then a couple of my girls went shopping for fruits and vegetables for a pizza day.  One came running back into the room afterwards excited beyond control.  "Mr. Matt, Mr. Matt," it worked she said, "it really worked!"  I was working on something with another student and asked,"what worked?"  She said, "being grateful, it really works.  This nice old lady at the produce store gave us free produce and I was grateful before we got there and she gave us free produce and now I am grateful for old ladies and free fruit!"  Then she wrote it on the board.  

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."
-- Oprah Winfrey

Children are wonderful teachers and motivators if you let them be.  I am starting a gratitude journal and I offered for the children to do it with me everyday for one month just to see what happens.  The goal is to write at least one more then I did the previous day.  I think I am going to keep the whiteboard going as a motivator of ideas for those that forget or have trouble remembering what they can be grateful for. I hope some of my readers will join us and share their experience with us too!

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." - Epictetus

This is the attitude of gratitude board in my class.  This is about halfway through the school day, on the first day!


Cynthia Dyer said...

What a great post. And I am swiping that idea for the elementary class. :-)


Matthew Simberg said...

Thank you, that's great!!! Please share what happens!!!

wendym said...

Thank you, thank you. What a great reminder. I really needed this right now. In the past as a family we often shared what we are grateful for each night at dinner. I am thinking it is time to bring this back. Thank you again.

Matthew Simberg said...

I am so glad it inspired you!!! Please share if you notice any positive changes that you think might be related to doing this with your family.