With a season of Thankfulness approaching, we might find ourselves more mindful of the things we are grateful for. My mom always had a felt board out on Thanksgiving. We each had a piece of paper and a pencil to write something down once we gathered at the table. We took turns pinning our paper to the fabric, as we each shared what we had written. It is activities like this one that will grow an attitude of gratitude.
Studies support a relationship between gratitude and an individual’s well-being. Because of this, it seems that this concept can be nurtured throughout the year! Here are three activities to cultivate a positive outlook on our blessings.
- Gratitude Walks
Getting children outdoors has many benefits. Taking a gratitude walk together can make this even better. As you walk, be mindful. Notice anything and everything for which you are thankful! Take turns naming items or keep a list!
- Mindful Eating
Mindful eating allows us to slow down and use our five senses to appreciate each bite. It also allows for a discussion on every step, ingredient, and helper that aided getting it to your table. This is a fun way to gather the family, enjoy a meal, and appreciate your time together.
- Thank You Messages
Saying thank you can become a good habit! But a heartfelt thank you is the best! Be sure to model saying thank you for your children by slowing down, using eye-contact, and adding a name. A handwritten thank you has positive benefits for both the sender and receiver. What a fantastic lesson in gratitude (and writing!) when you pull out paper and something to write with. For our younger students allow creativity with letters and pictures.
- Goodnight Gratitude
Both deep breathing and being grateful help you sleep. What a wonderful routine to add before bedtime! Ask your child to get comfortable in bed, putting one hand on their heart and one hand on their belly. Guide their breaths with the words, “Take a big breath in through your nose. Now, slowly breathe out your mouth as you think of one thing you are thankful for.”
Being grateful and seeing the positive is a mindset that can be grown all year long and can last a lifetime!