Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Does Practicing Gratitude Actually Work?

"How was your day?" my husband asked. It's the standard question we ask each other at the end of each day, but I have to give him credit for continuing to ask. Most days it leads to a torrent of mishaps and mayhem that wreaked utter havoc on my day.

"Surprisingly, it was pretty good," I answered as I set my coffee mug and lunch bag down on the kitchen counter. Was that a look of relief or disbelief I saw in his eyes?

It was true, though, I had had a good day. Misbehavior had been pretty minimal by my class's standards. They had actually followed along and actively participated during our reading lesson, which was amazing considering we were working on identifying main ideas. In fact, I had a few students express disappointment when we had to stop for recess. When has that ever happened? They did start to lose focus later during math as we analyzed the attributes of quadrilaterals.  But after having them complete a few jumping jacks and knee bends, they settled down and got back to work. During social studies, excitement overflowed as we watched a video showing the different regions of California.  I had told them to write down five to seven observations for each region, but as I walked around the room, everyone had closer to twenty. What on earth was going on?

Okay, the day wasn't perfect. There was the report from the campus supervisor of one student looking over the stalls in the bathroom, and several students got silly and off-task and generally annoying. Overall, though, this was probably one of the best days teaching I have had all year. So, what was different? Was it them or was it me?

It's hard to say, of course, but I couldn't help but think about my blog post yesterday in which I had taken the time to write down many of the things I am grateful for. I had felt decidedly better about life in general after writing that piece, and I still felt the positive reverberations this morning as I headed off to work. I had heard that having an attitude of gratitude could create positive effects in your life, but I never really believed it. Now, I'm kind of wondering

Maybe practicing gratitude actually works.

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