An Attitude of Gratitude


As the holiday season rolls around, so do the stressors that come with the holidays. Why not alleviate some of the stress by starting each day or each class in gratitude?

According to a recent health blog, in a study on gratitude, psychologists Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami asked participants to write a few sentences each week. One group was asked to write about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them. The third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about being grateful were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they had also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.

Michael Craig Miller, M.D., Senior Editor, Mental Health Publishing, Harvard Health Publications

So, why not spend the next few weeks in a “gratitude” study of your own? In lieu of the usual daily moment of silence, why not invite students and teachers to sit in silence and think about who or what makes them thankful? ( I sit and think until a smile creeps across my face)!


Try starting each faculty meeting by having each member write small notes of gratitude or “I’m thankful for” lists.


As part of your writing workshop, share greeting cards or poems that say “thank you” and invite students to say “thanks” to someone and ACTUALLY DELIVER THEM! (You might want to bring in old greeting cards and thank you notes and cards and place them in your writing center.

To aid you in the process, I’ll share, over the next few weeks, poems and pictures from one of my favorite books, Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes, which was given to me as a token of gratitude.

Gratitude is a huge part of my daily practice. I begin and end each day in gratitude. Why? Because there’s power in the positive, and gratitude helps me access that power.


I have a lot for which I am thankful and I am grateful that I can share gratitude with you and your schools.



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