Gratitude—it’s such a simple practice yet most of us don’t make it part of our everyday routine. We rush from school drop off to work meetings. We continue our busy days, make meals for our families, then wind down for bed. When our heads hit the pillow, we’re left feeling like it was just a regular day. Or worse, we move on to thoughts of all we have to do tomorrow. November is upon us and as Thanksgiving approaches, our team at Corken + Company wanted to share a few tips about how to live a life full of gratefulness.
How Gratitude Impacts Our Lives:
Gratitude has the power to impact our mental health, connections with loved ones, and our overall well being, according to a Harvard Health Publishing article. In a study conducted by psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, all participants were asked to write a few sentences each week on certain topics. One group was instructed to write down what they were grateful for each week. The other group was asked to write about the bad things that happened. The last group was told to write about anything that occurred throughout the week—either good or bad. After the 10 week experiment, the group that wrote what they were grateful for felt better about themselves. They were also more optimistic than the other two groups.
How To Raise Grateful Kids:
Talking to your kids about gratitude is the first step in raising them to recognize things to be thankful for. “From my observation as a parent, children tend to do what we do more often than do what we say,” Williams says.
Make an effort to talk to your kids about what gratitude means to them and then ask them to list things they feel grateful for. You can also model it by talking to your spouse about daily gratitudes or having family conversations about it at the dinner table. By simply talking about the topic, it can become an emotion that’s instilled in your child’s life.
Acknowledge the Highs and Lows:
Life doesn’t always run smoothly. We have bad days, get in grouchy moods, and feel stressed or anxious from time to time. It’s as important to acknowledge the presence of negative emotions as it is to talk about gratitude in your family.
Neilson says that it’s all about feeling grateful through the highs and the lows. If kids are going through something challenging or difficult, recognize their feelings before rerouting the conversation into a more positive one. Bringing up gratitude in times of trouble will give kids something upbeat to focus on, and can redirect their unsettled thoughts throughout the day. And hey, the same thing applies to you.
Living a life of gratefulness can take practice, but how much better of a world would it be if we all took the time to remember what we are grateful for!