With November, we head into the holiday homestretch of the year. This is the time when life can start to feel pretty hectic! (As if it wasn’t already in October….) The building of anticipation for the holiday season can be a reminder to mindfully slow down, take a pause, and consider gratitude.
Gratitude acknowledges connection….When we contemplate our place in the intricate, interdependent network of life, we feel wonder and joy. That realization can lead us to express thanksgiving.
And you know how much the Austin ISD Social and Emotional Learning team loves to talk about connection, right? It’s one of the most fundamental aspects of authentic learning! Gratitude also has documented benefits for the physical body; again from the YCEI:
Not only is gratitude a warm and uplifting way to feel, it benefits the body as well. People who experience gratitude cope better with stress, recover more quickly from illness, and enjoy more robust physical health, including lower blood pressure and better immune function.
Let’s Get Grateful!
For something with so many concrete physical and psychological benefits, trying out a gratitude practice can be as simple as writing down, or even just intentionally saying out loud, something you’re grateful for each day. Really. It can be that simple. But, of course, the internet is full of ideas for gratitude practices for every walk of life:
- This Positive Psychology Program has a robust selection of research-backed methods!
- Here are some ideas from KidsHealth about how to introduce the idea of gratitude to kids and teens.
- Here are some thankfulness practices from Forbes magazine!
We often think of gratitude as an externally-directed emotion, but intentionally practicing thankfulness and compassion toward ourselves is just as important:
- Here are some ways to work on self-gratitude from MindBodyGreen!
- BetterUp has some thoughts about how a gratitude practice begins with self-compassion.
- Here are some ideas about teaching self-compassion and self-gratitude to kids from the University of Wisconsin.
Practice the Practice
How will you invite more gratitude into your family, classroom and/or life this November? Do you hope to start a practice that can be taken into 2019 and beyond? Let us know by tagging @austinisdsel around social media, and dropping us a comment! We sure are grateful for you!