You might have noticed a lot of people seem to talk about gratitude in the month of November — at least, they do here in the United States.
The definition of gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; showing appreciation for and returning kindness.” Gratefulness, thankfulness, thanks, and appreciation are all synonyms (words that mean the same thing).
So, why do we set aside November for gratitude?
The answer is that we should be thinking about gratitude every day, but it’s kind of easy to put a spotlight on it in November because that’s when we celebrate the THANKSGIVING holiday. Get it? Giving Thanks!
But WHY should we be grateful?
When you think about gratitude, it helps you stay focused on the things that are good in your life, instead of focusing on negative or bad things. It actually changes your brain when you’re positive (happy), and it helps you lead a happier life.
Let’s do a little experiment:
Think about only the things you dislike about school. Perhaps there’s a kid who’s mean to you, or you don’t like the cafeteria food, or maybe there’s a class at school that’s really hard for you.
How does thinking about those things make you feel?
When I think about things I don’t like, or things that make me unhappy, I feel unhappy. My stomach starts to hurt, and I sometimes feel angry and sad. Does that happen to you?
Take all those things you dislike and tuck them away in a pretend box so you can forget about them for moment.
Now think about all things you love about your school: the friends you have there, that extra-special teacher, or the classes and subjects you LOVE.
How do those things make you feel?
When I think about things I love, I smile, I feel happy, and it makes my whole body feel happy. The way I feel when I think about my best friend, my favorite foods, doing something super fun, or my pets can’t be beat. And that’s not just a feeling in my head — when I feel happy, my body releases chemicals called hormones that affect every part of me!
You release different hormones when you think about unhappy things, and those affect your brain and body, too.
Which would you rather feel: happy or sad?
What should I be grateful for?
Anything good! Anything that makes you happy! Anything you have that another person might not…like:
Do you have enough to eat so that you don’t go hungry? Do you love your dog or cat a lot? Do your parents take care of you and keep you safe? Do you have good friends? Do you live in a beautiful place? Do you have a special talent?
There are so many things to be grateful for that I can’t possibly list them all!
How are you supposed to express your gratitude?
You can express your gratitude in a lot of ways. Here are some suggestions:
- Make a thank you card for a person you’re grateful for.
- Silently think about things that make you happy
- Sharing your gratitude out loud often helps other people to remember to be grateful…
And possibly the best way to share your gratitude is by sharing your happiness and resources (like money, food, or your helping hands) with a person who has less than you. Spreading your gratitude by helping others starts a gratitude chain reaction that can’t be stopped!
This season and EVERY DAY, be sure to remember what you’re grateful for…and don’t forget to SHARE! 🙂