A Dozen Resources for Teaching Gratitude
Here are a variety of songs, videos, and activities you can use to teach your students or clients about gratitude, without sugarcoating the serious challenges they may be facing in their lives.
Finding Things to Be Grateful for
- 25 Reasons to Be Thankful by Kid President
Cute video with a “List of Awesome Things to Be Thankful for,” even when life gets tough. (3 minutes)
- Grateful: A Love Song to the World by Empty Hands Music
Rap/folk song about appreciating everything the world has to offer.
- Gratitude Jar by Erin Sharaf, from “9 Simple but Powerful Ways to Share Gratitude with Your Students”
“Invite everyone to write down something they are grateful for on a small piece of paper. Place the piece of paper in a jar without signing a name to it. Pass the jar around and have each student pick out a piece of paper and read it aloud.”
- Gratitude Scavenger Hunt by Jana York, adapted from Teaching Mindfulness: A Guidebook for Teachers, Parents, Counselors, and Caregivers
In this activity, participants search for nine types of things to be grateful for, including ‘something that makes you smile or laugh,’ ‘something that is useful to you,’ and ‘something that makes you feel calm or relaxed.’
- Thank You (A Song for Friends & Family), Brandin Reed
He was able to make it through serious challenges because of the support of his loved ones. (song starts at :37)
Appreciating What We Normally Take for Granted
- Christmas Presents by Forest Hill Church
Funny and thought-provoking video about a man who wakes up on Christmas morning and is amazed by all of the wonderful gifts he’s surrounded by every day. (1-1/2 minutes)
by Brandi Lust, adapted from Myths of Being Human: Four Paths to Connect with What Matters.
Participants choose one “gift” and try imagining their life without it, thinking about “people in the world who are going without that gift and living the very situation you are imagining.”
- Thankful, by Jonny Lang
Gospel/rock song about seeing other people’s suffering and realizing he should be grateful for his own advantages.
Challenging Common Approaches to Gratitude
- Why We Are Practicing Gratitude All Wrong by Keka DasGupta
Keka DasGupta’s father died before she had a chance to tell him how much she appreciated him. In this TEDx Talk, she explains why it’s important to express our gratitude to the people around us. (16 minutes)
- What’s the Difference Between Gratitude and Toxic Positivity? by Dr. Rachel Hannam
In this video, a psychologist explains the difference between expressing appreciation and repressing our true feelings. (6 minutes)
- How to Make a Gratitude Practice That Doesn’t Feel Like Toxic Positivity by Ashley Laderer at Wonder Mind
Blog post with tips on how to develop a gratitude practice that doesn’t deny negative emotions and experiences.
A Curriculum for Teaching Gratitude
- Thanks! A Strengths-Based Gratitude Curriculum for Teens and Tweens from the The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley
This trauma-informed curriculum includes a teacher’s guide, worksheets, and PowerPoint slides.
For even more suggestions, check out the resources for teaching gratitude at MindfulTeachers.org.
Join the FREE Resilience Community for Helping Professionals to learn more about mindfulness, resilience, trauma-informed care, building relationships, and more! Our community features self-paced courses, a monthly live Zoom call, a weekly live meditation, and an online platform to connect with other providers/professionals in your field.