gratitude nicole the math latdy


“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.” – Mary Davis


Hey there! How’s it going?

It seems like gratitude is the buzzword of November, and for good reason: before we sit down to our turkey and mashed potatoes, we generally all take a moment to count our blessings. But one reason more people are talking about gratitude all month long is that there are real benefits to enumerating all the things we have to be thankful for. (Enumerating? Yes, I can make even gratitude into a math thing.)

I want good things for you and the students you are guiding. That’s one reason why, every November, we pause here at Nicole the Math Lady to issue a non-math challenge: The Gratitude Challenge. It’s a way to slow down and remember that, even when things are hard (and in November, so many things can feel hard), there’s good stuff to be thankful for. We just need to remember to do it. 


gratitude, nicole the math lady

Of course, forgetting the good things in our lives is nothing new. In fact, when Abraham Lincoln instituted the holiday of Thanksgiving, he remarked on that very thing: that blessings we enjoy “are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come.That’s why it’s important to be intentional about giving thanks!

Beyond that, there are so many benefits to showing gratitude. Want to be healthier? Give thanks! Want to be happier? Give thanks! Want to feel more alive and present? Give thanks! Want to feel less isolated, more compassionate, develop generosity? You guessed it: give thanks!

Listen, I’m not making this up. Gratitude has become a huge field of study and the results are remarkable. Finding things you’re grateful for can help you sleep better, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Gratitude can also improve the health of your heart. It also appears to make you feel more optimistic, motivate you to exercise more, and feel better about life in general. 

You’d almost think gratitude was a wonderdrug! 

And that’s why I want us to practice it more. This has been a rough year, and it can be hard to look around at the changes and not feel a sense of loss. And yet, people who cultivate the practice of gratitude can find something to be thankful for in any situation and that can be so helpful for our attitudes and perspectives.

This year, I’m challenging your kids to find something to be grateful for every day for five days. I encourage you to help them make their list. And I think you’ll find that if you do, you’ll have some great conversations about what to be thankful for, and why. 

How do you do it? Well, you might look back at good memories you’ve shared. You could look forward to things you hope will happen. You can look around at whatever is in front of you or think about your day or consider what’s working in your life right now and together find something you can be grateful for.

I think when you do, you’ll find you both breathe a little easier, smile a little more freely, and feel a little less stressed. Then, you just need to sit down and do it again the next day. Together, we can practice and reap the benefits of gratitude, together. And THAT is something to be thankful for.

Talk to you soon,

Nicole the Math Lady

P.S. Here are the details on how to submit your child’s list for inclusion on my Gratitude Challenge Video:

  1. Have your student make a list of one or more things they are grateful for every day. They can make the list or you can write it for them. 

  2. Do that for five days in a row.

  3. Post a picture of the list in the Facebook group with the hashtag #Gratitude2020 by Tuesday, November 24. (If you’re not on Facebook, email it to with the subject line GRATITUDE 2020.) Make sure your student’s first name and age is on the picture!

  4. Watch for your student on our 2020 Gratitude Celebration Video Thanksgiving week. We’ll send it via email and post it online.

Want to participate yourself? I’d love to see the lists you come up with, too.