It’s that spontaneous, warm and fuzzy feeling we get sometimes that makes us smile, lowers our heart rate and reduces stress. It’s the appreciation of value without regard to monetary worth.
In this fast-paced world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of always wanting more. Of thinking that having more money, a bigger house, a slimmer body or a better job will make us happier. But will it?
If we’re always reaching for that next rung on the ladder, when are we taking time to simply stand where we are to appreciate the view?
The Science of Gratitude
Studies show experiencing and expressing gratitude involves specific areas of the brain. Brain scans of people assigned a task that stimulates expression of gratitude show lasting changes in the prefrontal cortex that heighten sensitivity to future experiences of gratitude.
Other benefits? Better sleep. Less depression. Improved decision making. And so much more.
The Practice of Gratefulness
Some days, gratefulness simply happens. Other days, it takes a little more work.
There are countless products out there to facilitate the practice of gratitude. Fancy journals, jars, apps and other items. If those things work for you, perfect! Prefer a more stripped-down version? Simply spend a few minutes reflecting on your blessings each morning or before bed. Stop and b-r-e-a-t-h-e for one minute every hour, on the hour.
There is no right way to do it. But if you do it regularly, it might just transform your life.
The Art of Teaching Kids Thankfulness
It’s a tall order, getting kids to appreciate what they have. Their friends have the latest cell phone. Or cooler athletic shoes. Or a pool.
Every day, we remind our kids that every family is unique and that’s exactly what makes the world interesting. For instance, our family spends nearly every dime of disposable income on travel, including lots of camping. One of sons’ best friends has better “stuff”—gaming consoles, big screen televisions and the like. And he gets to stay home much of the summer, playing with neighborhood friends while our family is traversing national parks. Sometimes, each of them envies the other and both families regularly remind the kids that we just live life differently.
And when these pals reunite after spending time apart? They have endless adventures to share in a freshly constructed blanket fort.
Mom Thoughts on Gratitude
City Mom Collective is made up of about 100 local “sister sites” from coast to coast. We have thousands of wise moms writing for us. Read on for their best guidance on easy ways to incorporate gratitude into daily life.