Greater Good in Education (GGIE) offers a Gratitude Journal for Students activity, which is adaptable for students of all ages. The Gratitude Journal involves up to fifteen minutes of writing per day for two weeks, followed by some reflection.
GGIE offers rationale for this exercise, as well as advice for planning and implementing it. To maximize the activity’s benefits, journal writers should:
- Be very specific, including who, what, where, and when. “I am grateful for my coworker, Beatriz, who gave me a ride home when I locked my keys inside my car,” is much more specific than “I am grateful for my coworker.”
- Choose depth over breadth – more detail about one subject instead of many subjects.
- Focus on people! GGIE says that gratitude for people is more impactful than gratitude for things.
- Imagine being without someone or something. What would that be like?
- Consider good things to be gifts. Instead of taking for granted a lovely sunset, a beautiful bird outside your window, or a kind friend, think of these as gifts!
- Log the unexpected! Gratitude levels soar higher for surprises than for routine events.
- Go for variety! Even if you are recording a repeated event, you can focus on different aspects of it the second – or third – time around.
Sample Discussion Questions for Gratitude Education
- Some of us have more comfortable circumstances or more material things than others have; some of us have less. Do you think that all of us can benefit equally from practicing gratitude?
- How do you think it would affect you if someone put down or made fun of something that you are grateful for?
- How can you make sure that you are behaving kindly while discussing gratitude?
- Can you benefit from practicing gratitude for what you have, even while wishing for something that you do not have?