Why practise gratitude?
One of the core principles of the Positivity Planner, and a wellbeing tool that is backed up by huge amounts of research, is the concept of gratitude. Simply taking the time to think about what you are grateful for, either once a day, or even just once a week, can have a huge impact on your mental, and therefore also physical, wellbeing.
The gratitude worksheet, which can be downloaded by clicking the link below, has a ‘beginners’ page and a more ‘advanced’ page. On page 1, there is a list of things that you may feel grateful for at any given time. These range from people, to material objects, to more abstract concepts such as ‘music’ or ‘being able to go outside’. This page is meant as an introduction to gratitude, or to be used on days when your imagination is feeling a little sleepy, and you can’t think of anything off the top of your head! The second box on the first page encourages you to choose 3 of the things from the list and write about why you are grateful for them.
The second page is a freer gratitude activity, in which you think of three things you’re grateful for and expand on why you are grateful for these things. Once you have started to practise gratitude on a regular basis, it becomes easier to come up with a list. You may find yourself spontaneously thinking about something you’re grateful for whilst in the car, or even when you’re just watching TV!
I personally use my Positivity Planner to note down 3 things I’m grateful for once a week, but I often find myself feeling gratitude throughout the week, and sometimes add more things to my list. I also find that I am often grateful for the same things every week, such as my family and friends, and I still write them down every time, to remind myself how lucky I am to have such lovely, caring people in my life. Now and then, I think I should come up with weird and exciting things to add to my list, but most of the time, I am just grateful for the ‘simple’ things in life, that many of us take for granted if we don’t take the time to notice them and write them down.
Using the worksheet in tutor time
This is a nice quick activity that can be used in tutor time, with any year group.
Either display the first part of the worksheet, or hand out a copy of the first page to each student in the class, and ask them to circle or note down which of those things they are feeling grateful for today. Be aware that some of these things may be difficult for some children, and may trigger feelings of distress (for example, ‘my family’ if there are problems at home, or they have recently lost a family member). Some students may be comfortable sharing their list with others, but I would generally keep this as an individual and private activity. As the teacher, you do not need to check what they have written or even read their sheets unless they want you to. The point of gratitude is that it’s a very personal practice, and doesn’t need to be shared with others. Something that could be shared with others, however, is how you feel after writing about what you feel grateful for. This could be done immediately, or a day or two after the activity. The effects of thinking about gratitude are almost more important than the actual things you are grateful for!
I would aim to complete a gratitude worksheet once a week, although even if you are only able to do this activity once a month, or once every half term, it is still a very worthwhile thing to do.
Get in touch!
As always, I’d love to hear how you get on with this worksheet, so get in touch via Facebook, Instagram (@positivity_planner) or email firstname.lastname@example.org