Would you like to participate in EIW’s 10-day Gratitude Challenge?
As we approach the season of giving thanks, I invite you to unlock the power of gratitude. Adopting a “gratitude attitude” can increase happiness by up to 25% according to Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California. When we express gratitude to another human being, the benefit is two-fold. Not only are we helping that person to feel appreciated and seen, but we are also counting our own blessings, which contributes to a personal sense of happiness and well-being.
For some, the gratitude attitude comes easily. For others, the glass half-empty crew, it may be more of a challenge. The good news is that, with a little thoughtful application, anyone can adopt a gratitude attitude. Practicing gratitude in your daily life can fill your cup, strengthen your relationships, and help you through adversity.
What is a “gratitude attitude”?
Having a gratitude attitude means that you are focusing on what is going right in your life. It might mean reflecting on the big things like your appreciation for your family or the little things like the stranger who held the door for you or the store greeter who gave your child a sticker. Practicing gratitude helps us to see the silver lining, even when things aren’t going our way.
Getting a flat tire can ruin your day, but remembering that having a car in the first place is a blessing can help you stay in a positive mindset. We all know that children can turn a house from clean and tidy to a disaster area in no time, but remembering that having a home and vivacious children are experiences to be treasured can help you address the situation with poise and positivity.
Gratitude is contagious. Pass it on!
Once we get in touch with our own sense of gratitude, we can share it with others. By expressing our appreciation to our family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even random strangers, we can help to create a chain reaction of positivity. In giving thanks to others, we are saying, “I see you. I appreciate you. You have value in this world.” By building each other up, we feel more and more motivated to treat others the way we would like to be treated and even regard ourselves with more esteem. Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving. You’ll be amazed at the way it can shift your perspective.
The EIW 10-Day Gratitude Challenge
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we cordially invite you and your family to participate in our EIW 10-Day Gratitude Challenge. Work your way through the list with your family so that by Thanksgiving, you are filled with feelings of love, appreciation, and well-being. Let us know how it went in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
Day 1: Family Discussion
Take a few minutes when the family is all together, and allow each member of the family to share three things that went well that day or that week. Put all electronic devices away during this time and practice active listening. By reflecting on the positive, your family can begin to concentrate on the everyday blessings that often pass by without notice.
Day 2: Gratitude Wall
Create a gratitude wall in a prominent location in your home. Each person in the family should write down a few things they are thankful for on colorful pieces of paper and tape to a wall or affix to the refrigerator, where everyone in the family can see it. Family members can add to this wall whenever they think of something new for which they are grateful. Your gratitude wall will reinforce your gratitude attitude each time you look at it.
Day 3: Family Award Certificates
Write down each family member’s name on a scrap of paper, and then have each family member draw a name at random. Each person should create a paper award certificate to recognize an important contribution made by the family member whose name was drawn. Certificates should include illustrations, a description of the contribution, etc. Expressing gratitude to one another will make each family member feel seen and appreciated.
Day 4: Thank You Notes
Gather the family together to write thank you notes to someone outside your household such as extended family members, neighbors, coaches, or community members. This activity has the double benefit of sharing gratitude and reinforcing writing skills. For a quick refresher on how to write a thank you note, check out this step-by-step video.
Day 5: Family Food Challenge
Work together with the family to make a favorite family recipe (baked treats, pot of soup, anything you enjoy making together) and share with neighbors or community members who might appreciate a home-cooked dish. Your collaborative efforts will brighten someone’s day.
Day 6: Hidden Treasures
Together with your family, gather several rocks and paint them with inspirational messages and colorful images. Hide them at your local park or walking trail so that your neighbors will discover them, or place in front of your house with a message that reads “Take one, leave one.” Maybe you’ll start a trend in your neighborhood!
Day 7: Blessings in Disguise
Have a family discussion in which each person shares a tough situation from the past and explains how it helped him or her grow. Parents should take the lead to demonstrate how challenges can lead to new understandings and skills. Learning to find the silver lining in difficult times not only boosts your gratitude attitude, but it will also help each family member develop resilience.
Day 8: Share the Burden
Each person in the family should volunteer to do or to assist with an unpleasant task or chore that is usually another family member’s responsibility. This activity will help everyone to develop an appreciation for the day-to-day household contributions that may go unnoticed otherwise.
Day 9: Donate to a Worthy Cause
Gather canned goods, toiletries, or clothing and donate to a local charity. Explain to younger children that some families need help with the basic needs that many of us take for granted. You’ll grow your gratitude attitude and help families who are less fortunate.
Day 10: Help Your Neighbor
Have the whole family work together to find a neighbor in need of assistance, and help them with a project such as raking leaves or organizing the garage. Your thoughtful actions will show your neighbor that you care and serve as a reminder that being generous with your time and labor can make a difference in your community.
Have you checked out our recently launched EIW Resource Center?
If you enjoyed the video about writing thank you notes (linked above), you’ll love our Resource Center. It’s filled with helpful articles and videos for teachers, parents, and students. Browse our offerings on a wide range of topics geared to answer your questions about writing, literature, and more! We’re thankful for our EIW families and are here to help you every step of the way!