I am grateful for a lot of things in my life. When I’m having a bad day, I think about these to help me re-focus on what’s important.
Bringing gratitude in life has helped me through the pandemic times. When I felt stuck at home, I gave thanks that at least I had a safe home; when I got tired of home food, I gave thanks for the food we had in abundance; and when my son got on my nerves, I gave thanks for his health and happiness even in these glum times.
I first became aware of the need to practice gratitude after listening to a podcast by Brene Brown. She asks if you look at your child with a heart full of love then immediately think about how something bad could befall them? I did this all the time.
From when I was a kid, I remember being told by various people that if you are too happy now then it means you’ll be very sad soon. I’ve always carried that worry around. It stops me from enjoying my happiness. I don’t want it to be the cause of great unhappiness later. I’d rather have both in moderation.
After I heard that podcast, I’ve changed. They say people who are able to enjoy their happiness are the ones who practice gratitude.
Notice how I say ‘practice gratitude’ instead of ‘are grateful’. It is not enough to think about everything you’re thankful for once in a while; you need to actively practice it.
How do you practice gratitude?
You do it everyday, either in a gratitude journal, or as part of your morning or bedtime rituals. Write down or think about three things you’re grateful for today. Could be anything, from having good weather to loving relationships.
If you have older kids, try and incorporate it into their routines as well. Once a day, come together as a family and talk about what you were grateful for that day.
The benefits of gratitude in your life will show in your daily interactions. I find it has changed how I interact with my son immensely. I am a lot more patient and willing to listen instead of just reacting to the way he pushes my buttons.
For those who have a hard time thinking about what to write, there are some great journals with prompts to make you think.
- 365 Days Of Gratitude by Odd Giraffe
- Start Where You Are by Meera Lee Patel
- My Little Big Day: A Daily Gratitude Journal for Kids Aged 5 to 12 by The Journal Lab
It might also help to send a handmade card to remind people you’re thankful for them. A little thought goes a long way.
So, what are you grateful for today?
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