I think therefore I am? – Gratitude Exercise

Photo by KT Likes Coffee on Unsplash

Here’s something you could try doing that my writing in community friend Martha shared with me this week:

An assignment that literally changed my students’ lives. Extra credit (optional, and adds points to overall score). Make a list of 50 things you are grateful for in your life. Must use following format:

I am grateful for _________________ because __________________________.

One pt. for each line. Must complete 50. 49 won’t do. Must fill BOTH blanks for each line. You will get 50 points added to your grade.

Example: I am grateful for my grandma, because she makes me breakfast every morning.

I could tell you so many stories about this assignment! Not everyone chooses to do it. And sadly, not everyone is able to think of 50. If not being able to complete the assignment is perceived by the student as a problem, I see that as a good thing. I love coaching them to see things in their life to be grateful for. I can tell when a student has stretched and really starts to “get it.”

At the time I was in Phoenix, AZ, and I often got this response (one of my favorites) included in the list.

I’m grateful for my shoes, because without them I couldn’t walk anywhere when the sidewalk is so hot.

The last question of the assignment: Now that you’ve completed your list, look inside yourself. How do you feel? Has anything shifted?

Once in a while I would get a “no.” But of the 70% who actually answered the last question, almost everyone said that they experienced a shift. Some said they felt happier or more positive, while others said they realized they had so many good things in their lives that they hadn’t actually realized.