At the end of the summer term I ran mindfulness-based workshops for some students. These sessions focused on compassion and gratitude and I showed the teens this video.
The clip explains that one way of spreading a little happiness is to be explicit with someone close to you about how grateful you are to them for the influence they have on your life. It’s very simple.
Step 1: write down anything that comes to mind that you particularly love about the person you are thinking of.
Step 2: read the statement out to the person.
In the experiment the participant’s happiness levels increased between 4% – 19% when they actually verabalised their feelings.
So of course, I set the students a challenge to do this over the summer. And it occurred to me that I should practice what I preach and do the challenge too.
Without further ado here is my letter to one of my nearest and dearest. I read it to him last night (after a glass of wine!).
You know who you are – you’re the one who…
…puts up with me when I’m at my grumpiest and most irritable at the end of a long day.
In fact, you do lots more than put up with me. More often than not you make me dinner while I sink down into the sofa and you never complain about how tired you are feeling, despite me always telling you how tired I am feeling.
You are very aware of the impact teaching and ‘Mummying’ have on me and encourage me to be kind to myself when I need to be. In fact the patience you show me astounds me. You also send me lovely texts during the day if you think I need a boost AND I love how you seem to have embraced emojis recently – very 21st century of you!
You often make me a cuppa first thing in the morning and sometimes bring me a tea and a hot water and lemon if you can’t decide what mood I may be in.
You want nothing but the best for our children and I love that we make a good team. You are probably more domesticated than me; in fact you are often found filling the slow-cooker before hot-footing it for the 7.08am train. Oh and by the way I admire you so much for how much you enjoy the work you do. You seem to thrive on pressure and being stretched and challenged intellectually.
You are very reflective in all aspects of your life and have really taken on board me harping on about growth mindset!
When it comes to parenting we can both be pretty hard on ourselves but you are quicker than me at reminding us of all the positives from a family day and I love hearing the laughter that comes from the room when you and the children are sharing a fun moment.
You are such a good role model for our children – honest, kind, patient, reliable, hardworking, and generous. We are all very lucky to have you. I have known you for nearly 20 years and you have always been quietly and unobtrusively protective of me, knowing me so well.
Always supportive – you have helped me make my classroom Ofsted ready one weekend, you are always happy to proof read my blog posts and you have encouraged me to explore new avenues in my life with my mindfulness teacher training – I am very grateful for all of this and much more.
Basically thank you for being you. I love you lots. xxx
Who would you write this type of letter to – telling a loved one the things you most appreciate about them?
Could you read it aloud to them?
Could you encourage your tweens and teens to watch the video this summer holiday and take up the challenge too?
If you do I’d love to hear how it goes – good luck!