Fix Your Bad Mood Instantly

21 Mar
Illustration of a goblin

Illustration of a goblin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been grumpy this week for no good reason, and so have many of my students.  (I like to imagine the “grumps” like a roving band of pillagers; this week, they seem to have ransacked Savannah.) Luckily, I have a surefire defense against the grumps, and I am about to use it to turn my week around. It takes ten minutes, and it is absolutely foolproof. You ready?

I am going to write a thank-you letter.

That’s it. Not only do I know from personal experience that this works wonders, but there’s also research to back it up. According a paper by Stephen Toepfer and Kathleen Walker in the Journal of Writing Research, writing letters of gratitude significantly improves well-being. (Note, though, that writing is the key here. You can’t just think grateful thoughts–you have to act on them for it to work.)

Why don’t you try getting your students to write letters of gratitude? It is not only a great cure for today’s bad mood, but also a fantastic preventative measure. Writing one letter of gratitude each month will help your students build a lasting feeling of happiness and well-being.

Here’s mine:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Thanks for being great parents. Some examples of your awesomeness include:

  • Paying for my college education (and never making me feel guilty about it)
  • Letting me come visit you whenever I want, without giving you any warning (and picking up food from Nicola’s on your way home when I do)
  • Not always telling everyone when I’m in town, so that I can sit on your couch all day and read New Yorkers if I want to (and/or watch Game of Thrones–let’s be honest)
  • Always supporting my nonprofit, despite the fact that it probably made you very nervous when I announced that I was abandoning the safe path in life in order to found a kooky writing commune in a city I had never lived in before

So yes, you rock. Thanks!




9 Responses to “Fix Your Bad Mood Instantly”

  1. brainvomit40 March 21, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Good idea! And I LOVE the image you chose to go with today’s blog. I totally feel like that some days!

    • thatwritinglady March 21, 2012 at 11:46 am #

      Haha, thanks! That picture is definitely how I envision the “grumps” 🙂

  2. alundeberg March 21, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    What a good idea! This is perfect to have on hand for those days that you describe when no one is happy and nothing is getting accomplished in the classroom b/c of it, and it’s also a great lesson in letter writing. Thanks for sharing!

    • thatwritinglady March 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

      Thanks for reading–let me know how it works for you if you get a chance to use it in the classroom!

  3. vpallo March 21, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    What a great writing prompt idea! Thanks!

  4. Dan March 26, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    I love this idea and enjoyed trying it on my own. But I remember being a skeptical sort of child who always resisted being told to put on a smiley face. I wonder how the assignment, or at least the instructions, might be adjusted to engage that child.

  5. Angela April 10, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Gratitude is very powerful. Thanks for sharing! This serves as a great reminder for me!


  1. Why Farts, Zits, and Slobber Are Good for Your Classroom | That Writing Lady - April 2, 2012

    […] you notes. I don’t mind these assignments, exactly (and I certainly think there is value in thank you notes), but I can’t tell you how many times my students have almost ruined a truthful and hilarious […]

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