Home schools teach gratitude

Tonya Mead, CHFI, CFE, PhD, MBA, M.Ed, School Psychologist

For the new home school adherents, there is a science to giving thanks in bad times. Today we’ll present exercises and lessons for instilling gratitude within your child and/or student (if you’d like additional activity ideas, expertly curated by a School Psychologist) please visit my Amazon store.

This article isn’t about thinking positive; nor is it about Learned Optimism. Those were topics we discussed last week. It isn’t about turning tribulations into triumph. It might be about classical business management theory and quantum physics.   Physicists adept in Quantum Physics theorize that our thoughts literally shift the universe on a particle-by-particle basis to create our physical life.

What you choose to focus on shapes your reality

For instance, did you know that the subjects that we choose to study change their behavior because they are being observed and measured?   The Hawthorne Effect was coined back in 1937 when workers were found out they were the subjects of an important study, they increased production.  And, in the mere act of observation, you have the power to completely change the outcome of an event? (Uncertainty Principle, 1927).

So what am I saying? According to Quantum Reality Theory Part One, there is no reality in the absence of observation. Part Two stipulates that observation creates reality. Fred Wolfe, author of Taking the Quantum Leap, suggests that ‘you create your own reality.’

Let us go back to square one then.

During this Coronavirus Pandemic, when many are presented with dire conditions such as lost job, furlough, anxiety in a career, low wages, high credit card debt,  and under-water mortgages; or even overwork; let us say to ourselves, ‘life is relative.’

What constitutes a hardship for some may be a blessing to others.  Take for example, a $1 million cut in bonus for an investment banker versus a reduction in hours for the minimum wage worker, this is relative.  And too, by focusing on these perceived difficulties and  emphasizing  a pre-set notion of what it takes to be happy in modern life, we do nothing more but to increase the power and ability they have in shaping our reality.

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Giving thanks makes us healthier

If trying to teach Quantum Reality Theory to your child student is too abstract, just remember one thing. According to a report by Harvard University, gratitude can make us healthier. This is important. While we know that stress and anxiety lowers the immune system system used for beating back viruses, infections and bacteria; gratitude makes us more optimistic and happier about our current conditions.

Wouldn’t it be great to help our children learn this skill, particularly as disappointments and setbacks in life are guaranteed? Further, research and the University of California- Berkeley found that past decade have found that people who made a conscious effort to be grateful and count their blessings were happier and and less depressed.  If this is not enough to convince us of the power of gratitude, medical professionals routinely prescribe medications for their patients for the treatment of Depression as the depressed are more susceptible to a number of illnesses and physical ailments according to WebMD.

If you have been at a loss as to what to teach your child during school-closure, and if you feel that your educational background is lacking, consider some of these exercises sure to help him/her lead a more productive life in the future.

Methods for instilling gratitude within your students and/or children

  1. Writing a list of positive events that have occurred during the day, reviewing them and sharing at the end of the day. When writing these statements, the negative emotions of envy, regret, resentment are blocked and replaced by more productive emotions.
  2. Reviewing a family picture album and reflecting upon the happy and fun times that the child has experienced during the course of his or her life. The recollection of these specific events “during adolescence may help teens fortify their resilience and reduce the risk of depression later in life ” according to researchers from the University of Cambridge (Askelund, 2019).
  3. Sharing and describing instances when you, your family and child has been helped by others. When doing so, the act of communicating instances when you have been helped serves to strengthen a sense of family relationship, enhance the sense of belonging in the community, and a reduction of feelings of isolation. Of course, it is National Institutes of Health research shows that people who feel socially isolated have “higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.” We may therefore conclude that the lonely may have a higher risk for contracting Coronavirus, particularly if they have pre-existing conditions.

Once again, if you’d like additional activity ideas, expertly curated by a School Psychologist please visit my Amazon store.

Dr. Mead, PhD, MBA, MA http://www.ishareknowldge.com is a consultant specializing in human behavior, school and social psychology. She can be contacted at: tonya at ishareknowledge dot com