Gratitude is a key to creating the next generation of resilient and happy children.

But how?

How do you do that?

Did you learn habits such as gratefulness, kindness, mindfulness, optimism, appreciation, exercise and service at primary school?

I know I certainly didn’t.

Learning such habits is what I like to refer to as:

  1. Planting the seed – developing positive habits in primary years
  2. Cultivate – promote the positive habits by implementing in daily lives
  3. Harvest – reap the rewards as an adult

Scientists have proved in many studies that gratitude leads to happiness and happiness leads to success. It does not matter the age of a person; it is never too early or too late to form “habits of happiness”.

One particular 2003 study by Robert Emmons indicated that gratitude is not merely a positive emotion; it also improves your health if cultivated. People must give up a “victim mentality” and overcome a sense of entitlement and deservedness.

Positive Psychologist Shawn Achor speaking on gratitude says, you will experience significant improvements in several areas of life including relationships, academics, energy level and even dealing with tragedy and crisis.

In further research, Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami found that by writing about gratitude people:

  • felt more optimistic about their lives
  • exercised more
  • had less visits to the doctor

Compared to people who wrote about irritations and things that had affected them.

I often refer to Positive Psychologist Shawn Achor as he has written an outstanding book The Happiness Advantage.

In his book, Achor not only believes gratitude leads to happiness; he also has discovered happiness leads to success.  His research shows the real problem is people believe success will lead to happiness, when in fact our brains work in the opposite way.

When our brain is filled with positivity in the present our brain experiences what Achor describes as a happiness advantage, where our brain performs significantly better than when our brain is negative, neutral or stressed.

Achor’s research found when we are filled with positivity our:

  • intelligence rises
  • creativity rises and energy levels rise
  • brains are 31% more productive at positive than when negative, neutral or stressed
  • brain is filled with dopamine, it not only makes us happy, it turns on all the learning centres in our brain.

Growing with Gratitude has based some daily activities around Achor’s research. Such as:

Nomination Box: On a slip of paper write a random act of kindness you have recently witnessed by a fellow student then place it in the box. Read them out.

Gratitude is Great: Record three things you are grateful for in your Gratitude Journal.

Fitness Freaks: Choose a short activity to do together e.g. run around the oval, complete 50 star jumps, or have a hand- stand competition.

It’s crucial we give children the opportunity to practice positive habits. The earlier children start positive habit forming activities the more resilient and happy they will be in challenging times.

If you feel a friend or family member will benefit from this article CLICK TO SHARE.


Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 9.11.55 am



Growing With Gratitude Blog
Twitter: @grow_gratitude
Email: [email protected]

PS: If You Want To Teach Your Children/Students Habits Of Happiness In A Fun And Engaging Way  – CLICK HERE

PPS: We currently have schools, teachers and families from 43 countries join the Growing With Gratitude community. Our quest is 50 by July 2016

PPPS: Book your free 30 minute consultation. We’ll talk about your classroom or home, your questions, the program itself, and the best way to implement it in your specific circumstancesGrowing With Gratitude is proud to be Included in the
KidsMatter Primary School’s Programs Guide