Posts Tagged ‘grateful’

The holiday season is one of the most giving and positive times of the year. Many people have the ‘Spirit of Giving’ during this festive time. The students of Somerset Elementary School are no exception. A few of weeks ago the principal, and some of the students stopped by our office to deliver poinsettias. They were going to businesses and residences in the community to spread some positivity with the flowers and a little note. The students of Somerset Elementary; however, have been practicing positivity for a couple years. They piloted the Positivity Project for Northern Local School District last year. The district implemented the project in the other two grade schools this year due to the great results from Somerset Elementary.

The visit from the students inspired me to encourage others to be more positive. Overall, I tend to be a positive person, but positivity does not come naturally for everyone. Some people have to work harder at it, but we all can become more positive with some small changes. To become more positive, try some of these tips from the Mayo Clinic:

Identify areas to change.Positivity Project

Check yourself.

Be open to humor.

Follow a healthy lifestyle.

Surround yourself with positive people.

Practice positive self-talk.

With practice, you may be able to develop a more positive attitude and become less critical of things around you.

There are many health benefits  to having a positive outlook/attitude for you. These may include:

  • lower blood pressure
  • reduced risk for heart disease
  • healthier weight
  • better blood sugar levels
  • lower rates of depression
  • lower levels of distress
  • greater resistance to the common cold
  • better psychological and physical well-being
  • better coping skills during stressful times
  • longer life span.

One study showed that the most optimistic group of women had a nearly 30% overall reduced mortality compared to the least optimistic group.

Gratitude can also help with developing a more positive outlook/attitude. People who are more grateful tend to have a more positive demeanor. If we can continue the practice of gratitude that many people seem to have during the holiday season all year long, it may help us to become more positive overall. The week after our office received the visit and the flowers from the students, I walked over to the school to deliver a Thank You note to the principal to share with the students. I wanted to make sure that the students understand that their gesture was appreciated and acknowledged. I will be sharing this blog with the principal as well so that he can show the students how they were my inspiration for writing it. The simple gesture of positivity by them, has already spread beyond their little school and town.

When you find yourself struggling to be or to remain positive (as we all do at times), remember Winston Churchill’s famous quote that “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Sometimes just re-framing the situation can help us to see things in a more positive light.

Comment on your favorite tips to stay positive.


Written by:  Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension , Perry County.

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

Photo Credit:  Debbie Goodrich, Office Associate, Perry County OSU Extension.








Bryan, Jeff & Erwin, Mike (2017). #OtherPeopleMatter, The Positivity Project.

Mayo Clinic Staff (February 18, 2017). Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) News in Health (August 2015). Positive Emotions and Your Health Developing a Brighter Outlook.

Feldscher, Karen (December 7, 2016). How power of positive thinking works, Harvard Gazette.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking (2016). Pursuit of Happiness, Inc.


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This is a perfect time of year to teach our children aboutHappy Thanksgiving word cloud being thankful.  The Thanksgiving holiday has many opportunities to create new family traditions that will bring the real meaning of thankfulness and gratitude to a personal level for our children.  Even is the mist of extremely challenging circumstances, we can find something to be thankful for.  In addition to helping us cope with challenges, this kind of grateful attitude can be contagious and is a wonderful life lesson to share with our children.  Learning to be truly grateful can change your life. The Greater Good Science Center at University of California-Berkeley notes three key reasons to teach children to be grateful.

  • Grateful kids are more kind
  • Grateful teens are happier and get better grades
  • Grateful kids become stewards of the environment

Teaching children to be thankful helps them resist their natural urge to be self-centered and self-absorbed.  Thankfulness is an important character trait that allows young people to develop meaningful relationships with others, and is directly related to happiness.  Understanding the good things in our lives will go a long way during adversity.

Kids are never too young to start learning how to show thanks for the good things in their lives.  Although Thanksgiving, by its name alone, makes us think about giving thanks, we should teach our children by example, that being thankful and telling others how much they are appreciated should happen every day. Parents and caregivers are the main ingredient in teaching young children no matter how young or old about being grateful.  We teach with our actions more than words.  So, it will take some thoughtful planning to find time around our busy work schedules but many things can be incorporated in our day-to-day lives with very little effort.

Here are some ideas to try with your family:

A Thanksgiving Tree:  Get each child to trace their hand on a piece of paper.  Have each child write various things they are thankful for on the fingers.

The Thankful Paper Chain:  Cut strips of paper.  On each strip have the child write about something they are thankful for, such as “Grandma plays games with me” or “I have a nice teacher.”  Connect them into loops.  It would be fun to add to the chain as other holidays approach.

Giving Thanks Placemats:  The goal of this craft is to create a collage filled with pictures of all the things your children are grateful for.  Using magazine pictures or pictures from the computer, glue them on a placemat size piece of paper.  Older children could write captions.  You can even laminate it to use again and again.

A Thank You Note Project:  Teach your children to write thank you notes for presents they receive or kindnesses that are shown to them.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.


Rothenberg, W. A., Hussong, A. M., Langley, H. A., Egerton, G. A., Halberstadt, A. G., Coffman, J. L., Mokrova, I., & Costanzo, P. R., Grateful parents raising grateful children: Niche selection and the socialization of child gratitude, Applied Developmental Science Vol. 21, Iss. 2, 2017

Written by: Kathy Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, green.1405@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Janet Wasko Myers, Program Assistant, Horticulture, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, myers.31@osu.edu

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