With Thanksgiving just around the corner, this time of year there is plenty of talk about being thankful and practicing gratitude. While this is a topic that is often discussed around Thanksgiving and the holiday season, there is so much research highlighting the benefits of implementing gratitude practices into your daily routine.
Check out this website that highlights some of the benefits of starting a gratitude practice: https://www.mindful.org/an-introduction-to-mindful-gratitude/
Here are a few of our favorite ways to implement gratitude practices at home.
- Gratitude Jars- A gratitude jar is a fun way to get your child to start practicing a gratitude routine. Find a jar or small box and have your child decorate it, cut small strips of paper and each day have your child write down one thing that they are thankful for and then put it in the jar. As the days go by and the jar begins to fill with various examples, it will help your child develop a more positive mindset and give your child concrete examples of the things that brought them joy. You can use blank strips of paper, but if you would like you can also use prompts to help guide your child as well. Here is a great resource with examples of gratitude prompts to use for your jar: https://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/gratitude-jar
- Gratitude Journal – Another way of incorporating gratitude into your daily routine is to keep a gratitude journal. All you need is a journal or notebook and each day take a few minutes to write down 3 things that you are grateful for that occurred that day. An important thing to keep in mind is that the things that you write don’t need to be huge things that happen like going on a vacation or getting a huge gift. Think about the little things that happen each day- Maybe the sun was shining, you had a great cup of coffee, or someone complimented you. It might seem challenging at first to come up with three things you are grateful for each day, but you will eventually start to become more aware of the little things to be thankful for and in turn, have a more positive mindset overall.
- Expressing gratitude- Another way to practice gratitude is by expressing gratitude to others. Show appreciation to others who have brought you joy. You can write them a letter, or simply let them know how much you appreciate them. You can also pass on the kindness by doing an act of thoughtfulness- compliment someone, hold the door open for someone or help out someone who you notice needs some assistance. Pay attention to how you feel afterwards!
It can be helpful to discuss the things you are grateful for at dinner time, or even as part of your bedtime routine. One of these simple activities can help you and your family have a more positive mindset and a greater appreciation for the small things in life.