Seems like we’ve all heard the buzz about the importance of gratitude. There is a growing body of science behind the many benefits of gratitude. Practical tips on how to expand a practice of gratitude and if that’s not enough – here’s even more benefits of gratitude.
For myself, gratitude helps shift my perspective but I find I need a reminder to be consistently grateful. I use a gratitude journal app to keep it simple. I download an app, set a reminder and when it goes off I ask whoever is with me what they are thankful for. I soon discovered this extra benefit of my gratitude practice, it’s a special and unique way of engaging those with me. I remember one day around the campfire, two moms and a bunch of teens sharing what we appreciate. Another evening, we had friends over when my reminder went off; we went around the circle taking a moment to be grateful. It gives me not only the benefits of practicing gratitude, but also a wonderful connection point with others. It doubles as a unique glimpse into their hearts of gratitude. It also, provides an opportunity to teach my kids in a very natural way, this healthy practice.
Recently, I attended a conference where I was reminded the importance of stopping to experience the moment (mindfulness). Since that conference, I am now far more apt to
- stop and smell the cedar trees,
- enjoy my child’s laughter
- exclaim over a sunset, gathering my family to see it
- reflect on today’s moments with my family
- see the snow covered mountain peaks framed by clear blue sky,
- savour the sight and flavour of a good coffee, even better when shared with my family or a friend.Taking that moment to notice the little, oft overlooked, has broadened my ability to appreciate the many wonderful moments of my day – and in my family.
Gratitude for my Family
Let’s apply these benefits of gratitude to loving our families well.
I’ve learned that as a parent and wife I have seasons where I need a perspective shift with one family member, and yet other times, it’s much easier to be grateful for that same person! One year I bought a special journal to keep a written record of my gratitude (inspired by Anne Voskamp). My husband and I booked three dates, to focus on each of our children, and enjoyed making gratitude lists about our kids, together. Referring to this list really helped my perspective during an especially difficult season. I’ve found, as a parent, there are developmental milestones when it’s normal for our kids to push us away. In these seasons it’s hard for me not to feel hurt. Gratitude helps me to embrace the challenges of this “normal”.
I am VERY fortunate. I have much to be grateful for. My family is wonderful and I want to be intentional about noticing and communicating gratitude for them . . . and to them. I want to notice:
– a clean kitchen, (not only the messy one)
– consistent work ethic
– kindness and generosity displayed
– the ability to embrace life
– responsible actions,
and so much more. . .
This week let’s take time to focus our gratitude specifically – with our family. I’m going to start a family gratitude jar in the kitchen, and I encourage you to find a way to record what you’re grateful for as well. Whether recorded in a jar, on the bathroom mirror, in a journal or app, texted, or perhaps on plain old fashioned paper; let’s record and express gratitude for those in our family.
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