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Spring has sprung!

Now that spring has arrived, I have more energy and a greater sense of gratitude in my heart. Research shows that, when we practice gratitude every day, it changes our brains — and makes us happier!

It's an especially great time for high school seniors to practice gratitude. Remember those recommendation letters you asked your teachers and counselors for at the beginning of the school year (and maybe some of these requests came at the last minute)? If you haven’t thanked them yet, now is the time.

I think we can all agree that school personnel, especially teachers, give a lot of time and attention to their students. And I personally know many teachers who work during holiday breaks and weekends to write recommendation letters too. Now is the time to remind them how much they are appreciated.

And while parents may feel compelled to thank teachers on behalf of their students, it is far more impactful when an expression of thanks comes directly from the student. And when writing a letter, it's important for students to be specific with what they're thankful for; perhaps it's more than the recommendation letter but also the support they've provided for specific school assignments, projects, or even personal struggles.

While you can never go wrong with a handwritten note, perhaps you could even add a small gift based on something you know about their interests — a journal for a teacher who likes to write, a bag of specialty coffee beans for a counselor you never see without a cup of coffee on their desk, etc. At the end of the day, however, the words of gratitude are what matter most.

As I experience my own gratitude for working with amazing students and families, I want to encourage my readers to take on the 30 Day / 300 Things Gratitude Challenge. Learn more about this at Tracking Wonder. Let’s take on this challenge together!

Remember that expressions of gratitude will not only make others feel good, but they will bring you joy too. I know springtime often comes with higher stress levels and extra anxiety when preparing for college and the end of the school year, but take a little time to catch your breath. Breathe. Step outside. EnJOY spring. In a world filled with what can only be described as doom, it is often hard to find simple things to appreciate. But joy is all around us. We don’t have to look all that far to notice it.

So, to the students - Good luck with your final exams and AP testing, and don't forget to take a step back to practice gratitude every now and then. I promise you will feel lighter, calmer, and happier.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

— Melody Beattie


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