“In daily life, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”― Brother David Steindl-Rast
Life can feel like a whirlwind of diaper changes, work emails, and bedtime stories, figuring out meals, etc.
Amidst the hustle and bustle, we struggle to find happiness and wonder what will keep our feet securely planted in a land of peace and joy. It's easy to forget to hit pause and count our blessings.
Recently, I asked a roomful of successful working moms, "Are you grateful?"
90% of the women raised their hands.
I went on to inquire about how they:
Raised Grateful Kids
Most of the women discovered a disconnect between FEELING grateful and actually living out gratitude.
WHAT IS GRATITUDE
Have you ever thought about what gratitude really is?
It's something that most of us understand, but it can be hard to put into words.
Is it an emotion,
or a behavior?
Cambridge Dictionary defines gratitude as:
Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough two of the leading researchers on gratitude, define it as a two-step process:
an affirmation of goodness
acknowledgement that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves.While most of these positive benefits come from other people—hence gratitude’s reputation as an “other-oriented” emotion—people can also experience gratitude toward God, fate, nature, etc.
WHAT WE KNOW
What we do know is that gratitude is something that we can learn and grow in. It's not always easy, and sometimes it feels more natural to complain than to be thankful.
Gratitude isn't just about knowing what we're thankful for;
it's also about experiencing that thankfulness.
Unfortunately, gratitude often gets overlooked and undervalued.
Gratitude is something we all want,
but very few of us are intentional about giving it or showing it.
AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Let's work on unwrapping gratitude this holiday season and enjoying many benefits it can bring.
I've got three super easy tips to help you fit gratitude into your daily routine.
Choose ONE of the following three exercises to incorporate into your week.
Let's do this!
Let's become GRATEFUL WOMEN and share the love of God and His smile with others.
MORNING GRATITUDE STRETCH
In his article Why Gratitude is Good, Dr. Emmons, a leading researcher on gratitude shares,
“You can’t feel envious and grateful at the same time. They’re incompatible feelings, because if you’re grateful, you can’t resent someone for owning things you don’t.”
So, before your mind and spirit are bombarded with all the toxic negativity the world has to offer, why not take a moment to reflect on the things you're grateful for?
It doesn't have to be a big, elaborate thing - just a few minutes of quiet, reflective time.
You could do it while enjoying your morning coffee or even in the car before heading to work. If you have little ones, maybe steal a moment before they wake up!
Try mentally listing three things you're thankful for, or if you're feeling fancy, grab a cheap journal from Dollar Tree and write them down.
It could be something as simple as the sun shining through your window or the sound of your kids' laughter. Think about what happened the day before.
As you consider these moments of gratitude, pause and breath. Close your eyes and reflect for 10 seconds. ENJOY AND SAVOR the moment.
Starting the day with a grateful heart can really set a positive tone for the hours ahead.
By taking time to write down our answers, we consciously redirect our attention to that which we are grateful for and to WHOM we are grateful.
MAKE GRATITUDE A FAMILY AFFAIR
Researchers found that most parents stayed focused on what children do to show gratitude. While 85% of parents said they prompted their kids to say “thank you,” only 39% encouraged children to show gratitude in a way that went beyond good manners.
Cultivating an 'Attitude of Gratitude" in the family is possible, but takes some time and effort.
This holiday season, consider starting a family tradition that's both heartwarming and transformative. Set aside a few moments each day (or even once a week) for the entire family to reflect on and share one thing they are grateful for.
It could be the warmth of a cozy blanket, the lights on the tree, winter break from school, the laughter shared during a family game night, or the comforting aroma of a favorite holiday dish.
You can be the scribe and write these in a family journal.
To make it even more engaging, get inexpensive journals. Let each family member create personalized gratitude journals. The little ones decorate their journals with festive colors and stickers, or make the cover into a 'vision board,' gluing magazine photos, words, or quotes.
Younger kids can color a picture of what they are grateful for.
Then, after everyone has had time to write, draw, or dictate their Weekly GRATITUDE, share with one another. The process of talking about the event, person, or thought that we are grateful for solidifies causes the imprint of gratitude to solidify.
As you collectively fill the pages with daily moments of gratitude, watch how this simple practice transforms the atmosphere in your home, fostering a deeper appreciation for the joy found in the small things.
RESPONDING WITH GRATITUDE
In a 2020 study, where Dan Tomasulo had college students write notes of gratitude on
a regular basis, he determined that
“not only did the writer’s happiness scores go up, their scores on depression were lowered for at least a month following the exercise."
And I HEARTILY AGREE...
For years, I have incorporated writing notes of appreciation into my weekly routine. I am encouraged and blessed by blessing and encouraging others...
Bottom Line...Writing notes of appreciation and gratitude makes me feel good.
Writing a note of appreciation to someone for what they have done, or simply who they are, increases our sense of well-being. Writing allows you to pause and consider the person or action.
Remember that gratitude is about more than just saying "thank you."
While it's always nice to hear those words, it's even more meaningful when someone goes above and beyond to show their appreciation. So next time you receive a gift, take the time to really show (or tell) the person how much it means to you. Trust me, it'll make their day! And you will be GRATEFUL that you were able to bring sunshine into someone's life.
Leave a comment and let me know which of these Gratitude Exercises (or one of your own) you are going to incorporate into your 2024 Growing In Gratitude Plan.
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ACCOUNTABILITY: Join me for a Weekly Gratitude Group Coaching & Check-In.
CONSISTENCY: Get a FREE 30-Day Gratitude Journal.
COMMUNITY: Share your DAILY 3 on our private Gratitude Group.
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