The HappyEdugator

The HappyEdugator
People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Thankful! How Being Grateful Will Make You Happier and Healthier!

It is November already, and the year is flying by! Every year seems to go by faster and faster. As I sit and reflect about all of the things I have to be grateful for, memories of more difficult times arise. Yes, we all go through lifes ups and downs, but it is the down times that really make us appreciate it when we have up times. Unless you experience loss, hardship, and pain, it is difficult to really have a deep sense of gratitude for even the little things. There can be so many things in our daily lives that we take for granted. For instance, we take for granted having clean running water out of a tap.  All it takes is to go on a camping trip for a few days to really get a feeling of how difficult even common everyday tasks can be when you don't have running water. 

In today's busy world, we tend to stress over our agendas, worry too much about our problems, and panic when we can't acheive our goals. For some, the approaching holidays are painful, as they deal with health issues or memories of loved ones no longer here. There is also the constant strain of being connected, and sometimes the stress of the virtual world can also take its toll. However, even with all the wonderful apps available to help us get our lives in order and organized, there is no app for happiness. However, there is one sure way to  find happiness: gratitude.

We all want to be happy, and we know that money can't buy happiness. Some may think so, if they have a lack of it, but people with lots of money still have problems. Just read the news. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading researcher on the effects of gratitude, has conducted multiple studies on the connection between gratitude and well-being. His research confirms that gratitude definitely increases happiness and reduces depression.

According to his research, here are 3 ways being grateful can help improve your life:

1. Physical health: 
People who practiced gratitude had stronger immune systems, fewer aches and pains, and lower blood pressure. They also exercised more, took better care of their own health, and slept sounder.

2. Mental health: People who were grateful experienced more positive emotions, higher self-esteem, increased levels joy and pleasure, added optimism and happiness, and felt more alive and awake.

3. Social health and relationships:  People who felt gratitude were more outgoing, helpful, generous, and forgiving. They felt more empathy and compassion for others, and also felt less isolated and lonely.

You can read more about Dr. Emmons at his website:
The Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

Robert Emmons
Dr. Robert Emmons

Thanksgiving is a time when many people, like myself, start thinking seriously about what they have to be thankful for. However, we should be grateful all year long, not just at this time of year. Until we are truly grateful for the things and the people we have in our lives, we will never be satisfied with the things we try to acquire. Having gratitude will help us be happier and healthier all year long.

So now that we know the importance of gratitude, how do we teach our children to be grateful? How can they reap the benefits of gratitude in their own lives? Shouldn't we teach them to be appreciative and grateful for each and every day, because don't we want our children to be healthy and happy?

During the month of November, many schools have character education programs that encourage students to show gratitude. A great school-wide activity at this time of year is to organize a food drive to support a local food bank. Teachers often have students write about what they are grateful for. Kids love to describe what they are thankful for...and as long as you keep it light and fun, they won't complain about writing. My students would always love to write a short paragraph on these cornucopia writing sheets, color them, and place them on our door. Sometimes we would trace our hands, cut them out, and write five things we were grateful for on the fingers, with our names on the palms. Then, we would make a giant turkey tail (placed around a turkey body) out of all the grateful hands to display in the hall.

Here are some products in my store to use this November when you are teaching about gratitude:

Thanksgiving Writing - I am Thankful Sheets
Thanksgiving Writing-I am Thankful Sheets

Thanksgiving Writing

Thanksgiving Writing


If you want a big bundle of all kinds of  FUN Thanksgiving Activities, which includes the writing activities above, you can also purchase my

Thanksgiving Activities
Thanksgiving Activities BUNDLE

It is half off the bundle price for the next couple of days, so you can save more than 50%!

FREE THANKSGIVING STUFF FOR YOUR CLASSSROOM

As always, I try to direct you to some freebies at the end of each post:

Thanksgiving: Free Thanksgiving Maze
Thanksgiving-Free Thanksgiving Maze



Thanksgiving Acrostic Poem - Thankful
Thanksgiving Acrostic Poem-Thankful


As always, my best wishes for success in all you do! May you always be happy and healthy!

Deborah Hayes
aka HappyEdugator 





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