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Mindful Gratitude Exercise

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By Quána Madison, Clyfford Still Museum educator and mindfulness teacher

Time: 10+ minutes

Optional Materials:

  • Paper
  • Drawing or writing tool
  • Online drawing tool or word processor

Steps:

  1. Prompt students to reflect upon the following questions: Model vulnerability by answering these questions for yourself before you ask students to reflect.
    1. What are 3 things you are grateful for right now?
    2. Why are you grateful for those 3 things?
  2. Invite students to draw images or write about the things they are grateful for. Drawings could be abstract, representational, or symbolic. Students could write a list, a poem, letter, song, etc.
  3. Students should choose whichever mode of self-expression is most comfortable and accessible to them based upon their learning styles and available materials.
  4. After students draw or write, ask them to tune into feelings of gratitude:
    1. When you are feeling grateful, what do you feel in your body? Where in your body are feelings of gratitude located?
    2. How would you describe the feeling of gratitude?
    3. Does the feeling of gratitude have a color or texture? What about a smell or a sound?
  5. Provide multiple ways for students to share with each other. Students could share their drawing/writing or share their answers to how they experience gratitude. Create a wall of gratitude to showcase the things your class feels grateful for.
  6. Revisit this exercise regularly. Students may be grateful for new or different things, and can reflect on how and why their feelings changed.