Why gratitude? It’s one of those powerful virtues that teaches children and adults appreciation, generosity, and kindness. Gratitude changes people for the better. Gratitude is the antidote to entitlement. Isn’t it interesting that Thanksgiving is the one time of the year that we make a concentrated effort to focus on gratitude and on being grateful? That’s why I’d like to share 10 simple ways to practice gratitude in your own life.
Being grateful, showing, and expressing gratitude should be practiced year-round. It starts in the home with parents leading the way and being the example by giving their kids opportunities to practice daily gratitude. Parents also need to believe that having an attitude of gratitude is an important trait for their children to possess. Here are 10 simple ways we can share and express gratitude in the home.
Write Gratitude Letters
One strategy that has been proven to promote happiness is writing gratitude letters. After you spend some time thinking about the people you most appreciate, sit down to draft a letter to them. The mere act of expression is what is most important, so you don’t even need to give them the letters.
Go For a Gratitude Walk
With social distancing from large crowds recommended, getting outside might be the best form of reprieve there is. Take a 10-minute walk each day and turn it into a special time of gratitude! One way to do this is the 5–4–3–2–1 technique. As you walk, notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel or touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. Then turn each observation into a moment of gratitude.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
I’ve written about this before in a past post, but a gratitude journal works wonders! Each evening before bed, write down something you were grateful for today. Something you’re looking forward to this week, and someone you’re thankful for and why.
Make a List
One way to ensure that each day spent on lockdown begins on a good note? Try making a list of the things that you’re grateful for in your life. You can make it a habit to start the day off right by making a gratitude list when you first wake up.
Make a Gratitude Drawing
Are you someone that prefers to express their gratitude through creativity? Then take a moment to think of some of the people and things you are most grateful for and draw it out. You can place your drawing on the fridge to remind you of what you’re grateful for and to keep practicing gratitude.
Make a Gratitude Chain
A fun activity for kids that gets the whole family involved! Set up an area with precut construction paper strips, markers, and tape in your home. Ask family members to pause every time they walk by to jot down something they’re grateful for and then fasten it as a link on the chain.
Live in the moment and be present in your surroundings. Stop, breathe, and be grateful for everything in your world.
Make “Thank You” Calls
Sit down and make a list of people who’ve done something nice for you lately. Then set aside a time on Thanksgiving to call and say thank you.
Find a Way to Give Back
Talk to your child about the causes that matter to them, and the people or things in the community that they’d like to help. Reach out to organizations to see how you can give back, whether that’s donating or volunteering in a way that’s safe during COVID-19. You’ll be grateful you did.
Send Virtual Care Packages
Social distancing and self-quarantining mean you can’t get together to hug but your child can send the next best thing: a bunch of photos and a funny video that will make someone smile. Here’s a great link that shares how to send virtual care packages.
Is there a practice of gratitude that I might have missed? Which one was your favorite? I’d love to hear your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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