Some folks may chuckle a bit to see a blog post entitled “Grateful Teens.” After all, the moodiness and questioning characteristics of adolescence often challenge adults so much that they sometimes overshadow the way we think about teens. The fact is, however, that we should be encouraging youth to think about gratitude as a means for helping them be happier and healthier. Several studies have linked a higher focus on gratitude to increased happiness, hopefulness, better grades, and even less drug and alcohol use among teens.

We are grateful to the staff and teen guests of The Cove/D.F.Z. (Drug-Free Zone) who participated in a gratitude challenge this month. On and off throughout the month, they thought and spoke about who and what they were grateful for in life. Here is a Thanksgiving taste of their list: parents, phones, shoes, pets, friends, grandparents, the opportunity to graduate, food, and access to support. What a great list! The staff of The Cove/D.F.Z. intend to help youth keep the focus on gratitude going in 2014. What about you?