Happy Thanksgiving week! Studies show that feeling and expressing gratitude improves our mental and physical health. It also increases our experience of happiness. Sometimes feeling grateful seems easier to do than others. How can we support our families (and ourselves) in getting into this healthy habit?
- Create and maintain Thanksgiving traditions of expressing gratitude.
- Cover a door with butcher paper and ask everyone to write thoughts of gratitude on it for each member of the family – emphasize character traits that you appreciate them working on and praise efforts rather than products. (i.e. “I appreciate that Cindy worked hard on her piano piece to get it ready for recital.” Rather than, “Cindy plays piano beautifully.”
- Make a tree out of construction paper and tape it to a wall or door. Make paper leaves out of construction paper and write notes of gratitude on each leaf before taping it to the branches.
- Go around the table (or tables) and take turns naming one thing for which you are grateful (no repeaters). Do this after the prayer so people can be eating while we discuss our many blessingsJ.
- Have every member of the family create a turkey with construction paper and list blessings on the feathers (also made out of paper)
- Model Gratitude throughout the year by remembering to notice positives and express your thankfulness for those times that children do cooperate, spouses remember to pick things up after work or friends reach out to support you. We get more of that to which we pay most attention. Begin paying attention to the positive and showing gratitude for it will bring more of the same to your life.
- Write a note of thanks to a teacher who encouraged you. Ask your child to read it and give you feedback before you send it.
- Call and thank your parents for all they have taught you. Let your children overhear the conversation.
- Remember to use your magic words. Modeling polite behavior and respect toward the children will encourage them to use more of that behavior with you and other adults in their life.
- Listen to or watch a guided imagery on gratitude. One of our favorites is at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nj2ofrX7jAk
- Draw the word “Grateful” how it makes you feel or draw a symbol of gratefulness
- Fill a jar with strips of paper listing all of you blessings; read them once you fill it up, or on Christmas, or on New Year’s Day, or a Birthday…