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Practice Gratitude this Valentine’s Day

By Joanna Marzano, CEI Intern

Editor’s Note: Teachers and princip

als, you may want to consider the exercise Joanna provides for part of your opening exercises on Valentine’s Day. Or perhaps daily for Valentine’s Week.

I am sure at some point in your life someone has advised you to ‘listen to your heart.’ Although this saying is quite cliché, there is a lot of truth to it. Our hearts can be used as powerful tools for making decisions that have compassion and acceptance at their core. With Valentine’s Day approaching, it is an excellent time to introduce your students and staff to the power of their hearts, and encourage them to open their hearts up to feelings of self-love and gratitude for the special people in their lives.

For some, Valentine’s Day can be a time of bitterness and sadness. It may bring up memories of loved ones who have passed or the seeming lack of love within one’s life. This is the perfect time to give everyone a moment to listen to their heart, because they will be surprised to find an endless well of love and connection that was inside them all along. It is also important for students to understand at a young age just how powerful love can be, and how to tap into that power from within, rather than seeking it solely from outside sources.

Doc Childre, co-author of The HeartMath Solution and founder of the HeartMath Institute, developed an exercise that allows us to feel the power of our heart fully, and to enter a state of mind that is defined by openness and gratitude. It is called the ‘Heart Lock-In’ and is done in 6 simple steps:

  1. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and try to relax

  2. Shift your attention away from the mind and bring it to the heart. Imagine yourself breathing through your heart to better focus your attention.

  3. Remember a feeling of love for someone whom it is easy for you to love. Stay with that feeling for 5-10 minutes.

  4. Gently send that feeling of love to yourself and others.

  5. As thoughts come into your mind, gently bring your attention back to the area around the heart.

  6. Take some time to write down any loving thought or feelings you experienced during the exercise.

Exercises like these gives us the chance to tap into our feelings of love and gratitude, which has shown to be beneficial to many aspects of our lives. Try this exercise out with your students this Valentine’s Day and give them the opportunity to explore the feelings of love and gratitude they may experience. Sustained practice of gratitude has shown to make us happier, improve our sleep quality, increase our levels of energy, strengthen our emotional regulation, and increase our overall well-being, to only name a few (Amin, n.d.).

So, this Valentine’s Day, celebrate love in its purest form. Help the individuals in your school learn how to open up their hearts and watch the love spread endlessly through all.



Childre, D. L., Martin, H., Beech, D. (1999). The HeartMath Solution. San Francisco, CA: Harper San Francisco.


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