Getting to the heart of gratitude is worthy work. So many of us can think thankful thoughts and say simple appreciative sayings but how many of us genuinely feel a deep well of gratitude daily? It is this authentic appreciation for all the good that comes our way that helps us live longer, feel better and create positive connections in the world around us (per the latest scientific studies). As well as sets an extraordinary example for our children to create lives full of thankfulness.
Each of us travels our own unique path towards gratitude. And each of us learns how to generate it differently. Take me for example. Maybe I was a slow learner and needed to go to a developing nation, live at the Base Himalayas, work with Tibetan refugee children and wash out of bucket in the middle of winter for months to really appreciate the creature comforts of the modern world. Let me tell you, it worked!
So honoring your own individual journey is important. And I believe deepening your level of gratitude in a way that feels right to you and supports a skillful worldview has the potential to be incredibly positive and powerful. So to take thankfulness into practice included below are a few ways to activate appreciation:
- Sharing a Gratitude Thought before Meals or Before Sleep Nightly
- Making a mental gratitude list daily
- Writing in a gratitude journal
- Meditating and recalling all the people who have helped you in a little or big way. Or the people who haven't as they taught you patience, tolerance and forgiveness.
- Saying gratitude affirmations upon waking (i.e. Thank You for this perfect day.)
Raising Great-full Kids
Cultivating gratitude in kids begins with your own practice. Kids will mirror what they see, hear and feel each day. So incorporating a practice of gratitude into your day-to-day routine with children is crucial - it can be a family practice of saying something we are grateful for before sleep or making up a silly but thankful saying before dinner. Like my Dad used to say, "Rub a Dub-Dub, Thanks for the Grub, YAY God!" but as a kid it taught me however silly I need to be its okay but never forget to thank away.
By Maureen Healy
Author of 365 Perfect Things to Say to Your Kids available on Amazon Dec 1, 2009 and in stores everywhere January 10, 2010.
More information: www.growinghappykids.com