Research has shown again and again that practicing gratitude can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It positively impacts mental health over time and increases overall happiness.
So what does that have to do with the classroom?
Many of our students face immense amounts of stress and trauma in their daily lives. Living with this daily stress, including the lingering effects of the pandemic, can impact their ability to function and thrive in a classroom setting. Helping our students practice gratitude can help lower their cortisol levels, reduce stress, and improve their classroom experience.
One easy way to do this is with a simple gratitude journal. Students respond to a daily prompt about something they are grateful for or something good about their day. This can be done verbally or as a quick entry in their journals.
(Side note: research has also found that when you list out three good things that happened in your day, you can see “considerable improvements in depression and overall happiness, sometimes in as little as a couple of weeks.”)
Practicing gratitude doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. It also doesn’t have to be condensed into one month. It is simply acknowledging the good things that happen helps us live better, happier lives.
I recommend starting the day with a prompt and following the general outline below.
- Display the prompt and have students respond either verbally or in their journals.
- Call on a few students to share if they feel comfortable.
- Continue the process throughout the year, either with new journal prompts you create or with the “3 Good Things” prompt.
Taking a few minutes a day can really help your students thrive.
If you want to download a free, editable version of the gratitude journal shown above, click here or on the picture. The freebie comes with the journal shown above and an editable version so that you can create your own prompts that fit your students’ needs.