An Experiment in Gratitude

I know it is only the third week of school, but like they say; “there’s no tired like teacher tired” and I needed some positive energy today. Thinking about positivity, made me remember that on the last day of school last year, our principal showed us this video. It was from Soul Pancake’s series: The Science of Happiness and it had quite an effect on me: I cried, right there in that meeting.

Now, full disclosure: I’m a crier – I cry in movies, weddings, songs, commercials, when I’m nervous, happy, sad or scared. I’m also a sympathy crier – are you crying about something? Yep, me too. I may not be the most unbiased person, but all the same, this video was pretty cool.


(you should watch the video first, if you want to experience it for yourself – link below)

This video isn’t about school, or at least not directly. It basically follows an experiment – where it asks people about their life satisfaction, among other things to determine their baseline happiness.  They wanted to test the fact that psychologists have scientifically proven that one of the greatest contributing factors to overall happiness in your life is how much gratitude you show.

Then they had them think about and write about a person who had been very influential in their lives. Then, they had them call that person, and read them what they had written. Once you’ve watched it, you’ll see – its pretty emotional.

The most surprising thing for me was that the people who actually expressed their gratitude ended up feeling up to 19% more happiness, within that 15 minute period!

It made me realize that it is SO easy to say thank you – and inevitably, you’ll make yourself feel better. Not only that though, you’ll make someone else feel good too. I try to remember to be thankful, but I’m not as good at expressing my gratitude. Right after the video, I think I told about 20 people how thankful I was for them throughout that year, but it is a shame I didn’t work to tell them all year.

I want to share this lesson with my students – to help them realize that they can be in charge of their own happiness, and that it is so easy.

DISCLAIMER: THIS VIDEO HAS TWO SWEAR WORDS (a** and a bleeped F***) at the 5:18 and 5:25 marks (in case you wanted to share it with students). 

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