With 2020 being such a crazy year, it’s easy to get caught up in the sadness and reality of all that we have missed. It becomes even harder to focus on good things in your life, leading to entitlement and sadness. With all the difficulties going on, I decided I’d better do something about it!
“Counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems.”President Russell M. Nelson
I’ve often heard the benefits of being grateful so I thought I would research it a little bit. I found there are many psychological benefits to being grateful. Here are just a few…
- Gratitude helps you feel happier and more optimistic.
- It helps lower stress, depression and anxiety.
- Gratitude can help you through hard times!
- Gratitude helps you recognize the good in people, places, and things in our lives.
- Gratitude is a positive emotion that helps you feel open, creative, and energized.
- It is linked to many health benefits and can improve your mental health (being stuck at home has definitely affected my mental health!).
- It can strengthen relationships.
- Gratitude can strengthen your faith as you start to see God’s hand in your life. It will help strengthen you spiritually.
- It can improve sleep, increases empathy, enhances self-esteem.
The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life. Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man! [GD, 263]Joseph F. Smith
I want ALL of those benefits for me and my family so we decided to start some daily gratitude practices in our home. One thing we’ve done is at dinner we pass around the “Gratitude” Painter’s Tape and share something/someone/or an experience for which we are grateful. I have noticed that it lightens the mood and then opens the doors for more conversations. Also, I have started writing in my journal at night about specific things I am grateful for that I noticed throughout the day. It is amazing to me how much lighter and peaceful I feel after doing such a simple thing.
While searching for information about gratitude, I found LOTS of ideas of ways to show gratitude in the home-individually and together as a family. I made a list so that you could choose something to try today with your family! The benefits far outweigh the troubles! You can really have a happy home in spite of all the difficulties happening this year. Try to create a new daily family tradition of gratitude.
- Share things you’re grateful on social media. Use #givethanks.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal
- Pay attention to the people that you interact with. Did they do something on purpose to help you? Find a way to show them gratitude.
- Make a list of all of your strengths.
- Start a gratitude jar. Write on a piece of paper anytime anyone sees someone doing something awesome. Or they can write one thing they are thankful for. Read them once a month.
- Think about your week and remember any good done. How would your life have been different if something hadn’t been done for you.
- Find ways to fill other people’s buckets. (Give compliments, encourage, etc).
- Write on post it notes the strengths you see in other people in your family and leave them in a spot where they will find them later.
- Give a specific reason to each family member every week of why you love and appreciate them. Be specific…I love you because you made dinner when I was super busy.
- Think about who has influenced you most in your life. Write a letter about how they have impacted you. Then call and let them know. Here’s a video that shows how.
- Say Thank you to anyone throughout the day who does something for you, no matter how small. Some times our kids are the least appreciated. Let them know how you feel about them.
- Create a gratitude tree. Add a leaf for each thing/person/experience for which you are grateful.
- Think about past trials and how you have been strengthened or are better because of them. Share those examples with your friends and family.
- Have a family gratitude box or one gratitude box for each person. You can have each family member write a letter to each other or you can do quick notes in a small box by each of their rooms. Let them know the good things you love about them.
- Do acts of kindness…doing things for others is an excellent way to appreciate all that you have.
- Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t. Try for 2 weeks to “see” every blessing you have. Write it down.
- Listen to a podcast on gratitude.
- Have a family gratitude rock (or whatever object you choose) that comes out at dinner and each person can share one thing they are thankful for each day.
- Remember gratitude at bedtime, have each child share something they are grateful for as you tuck them in.
- Send a random text to your older kids telling them one thing they did that you are grateful for.
- Have each family member share 3 good things that happened each day.
- Skype or FaceTime or Zoom a grandparent or extended family member and tell them how much you love and appreciate them.
- Write hand written thank you notes to loved ones and mail them.
- Create a family gratitude bulletin board or white board.
- Make a list of 100 things/experience/people you are grateful for this year. Older kids could go to 1,000 or more. Here’s a Gratitude Challenge to get you going.
- Show your gratitude to God. Meditate and ponder all that He has done for you.
- Have a prayer that only includes gratitude and doesn’t ask for anything.
- Point out every time you see God’s hand in your life to your family. For example, we like to point out blessings for paying tithing. He doesn’t always bless us directly with money, but we are blessed with good health or an old car that never dies.
- Are you a grateful person? Take this gratitude quiz to find out.
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
Gratitude is an essential skill that EVERYONE CAN LEARN in your home. Practice it. Do it daily and repeatedly together until it becomes a habit. You will see the power of gratitude in your life and your perspectives will change for the good.
Here are some interesting reads/videos…
- Six Habits of Highly Grateful People
- Sesame Street’s Gift of the Magi Video. Great to talk about people sacrificing for each other.
- How to have gratitude at home.
- Russell M. Nelson video on gratitude.
- The Gratitude Experiment Video
- What are we grateful for during Covid?
- Are you a gracious receiver?
- Gratitude and Happiness Study
- 3 powerful ways to practice gratitude with your family.