Thank you to our guest blogger Sarah Emerson. After reading through her entry, please scroll to the bottom of the page for information on her blog.
Thanksgiving & Christmas are holidays celebrated by many families. It is a time that we gather and give thanks for all of our blessings.
While I enjoy the holidays and spending time with my family, I believe that we should express our gratitude each day and teach our children to do the same.
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." —William Arthur Ward
Not only is showing how grateful you are a boost for those you interact with, but science shows that it is actually good for you too!
According to PositivePsychology.com:
- Gratitude practices reduce cardiac diseases, inflammations, and neurodegeneration significantly.
- Daily journaling and gratitude jars can help individuals fighting with depression, anxiety, and burnout.
- Writing gratitude letters brings hope and evokes positivity in suicidal patients and those fighting terminal diseases.
- Gratitude improves the sleep-wake cycle and enhances mood. It helps people with insomnia, substance abuse, and eating disorders.
Reference: PositivePsychology.com: The Neuroscience of Gratitude and How it Affects Anxiety & Grief.
Emmons, R.A., & McCullough, M.E. (2004). The Psychology of Gratitude (Series in Affective Science). New York: Oxford University Press.
So what can we do?
Expressing gratitude doesn't have to be anything big or complicated. It can be as easy as leaving a little note on a coworker's desk or remembering to smile and say 'thank you' to someone who opens a door for you.
Simple ways to show you are grateful
- Go around the dinner table and tell one thing you are grateful that day.
- Create a gratitude jar. Using any jar, write something you are thankful for on a slip of paper and add to the jar daily.
- Pay it forward. When someone does something nice for you, do something nice for another person.
As parents, regularly praise your spouse in front of your children and tell your children you are grateful for them.
Perform random acts of kindness together as a family.
Give a handwritten note. A verbal thank you is always appreciated, but knowing that a person took the time to create a handwritten note can make it feel more special.