Monday, November 19, 2018

Two Years Focusing on Gratitude

A picture I took this fall on a run, thankful for the gorgeous fall colors.
For over two years I have recorded three things a day for which I'm thankful. I first started this habit after attending a workshop that stressed the importance on focusing on the good things in our lives. This was emphasized as a way to not let negative events dictate our mood, our outlook and affect our interactions with others. The highlights and gratitudes I record are often events of the day, highlights, interactions with my family and others, or sometimes just something memorable I don't want to forget. I'm finding that the older I get, the more important it is to record these things! Research has found that we tend to remember negative things more than positive, which is yet another reason to record these.

Two years ago when I first wrote about this my wife and four kids participated by recording their own gratitudes daily for three weeks. We incorporated this as part of our time with one another at dinner. We found this to be a great conversation starter and way to get everyone to reflect upon their day, share highlights, and appreciate the good things that happen in our lives. It's also a great way to help our kids practice listening, taking turns, being polite, and builds relationship with one another as we learn more about each person. We did all of this without technology in use during our meal and believe in being where our feet are, something we still strive to do not just at the dinner table but also at other times, too, such as in the car and when hanging out with one another.

With Thanksgiving this week in the United States, many of us will have a day off to spend time with our family and friends and reflect on things for which we are grateful. I encourage you to extend this practice beyond the day and incorporate gratitude as part of your daily routine. I believe I'm a better person after two years of this practice. On a related note, as educators it can be helpful to remind ourselves of the good things happening around us so we don't burn out focusing on the negatives--thanks to my colleague and Tech Coach Rachel Studnicka for pointing out this article about that.

Many other posts I've made related to having a healthy balance in our lives around our use of technology can help you spend more time in gratitude and relationship with family and friends. Check them out:

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