I LOVE PRACTISING GRATITUDE! I love the HUGE effects it can have with such a relatively short (but consistent!) practice.
Harvard Medical School say
‘The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.
In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.’ (You can read more about it here – https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier)
I know that for most of us this is a strange and unusual time. There is so much of our lives (as they used to be) that is out of our control, and for a lot of us (ME!!!) that is really hard to deal with. Imagine then you are 5, or 6, or 7, or 8, or even 9 or 10, and you don’t have the emotional intelligence that you have learned by your adult years. You are feeling this world of ‘weirdness’ which you are unable to give a label – you haven’t learnt yet that the funny feeling in your tummy is a nervousness at all the change that is happening, you haven’t learnt that the way that you’re being grumpy, unkind and uncooperative with those you love is because you’re frightened of the negative talk around you or the feeling of simply not feeling like yourself and not knowing what to do with that could be because life is so different to how it should be??
I imagine there are children in most households right now experiencing some or all of these feelings. And unlike us, they are most probably unable to recognise why they are behaving as they are or how to fix it… for me that is where PRACTISING GRATITUDE comes into its own. There are lots of wonderful ideas on the internet and in books about how this could be done. A favourite of mine is an evening journal (and there are some brilliant children’s ones on the market!) which gives your child a time to reflect on all the positives in their lives, and if done in the evening, gives them a chance to think about positive and happy things before they drift off to sleep.
Some other great ideas I found and used in the past are…
A Gratitude Jar
- Take one jar and decorate however you wish – I know in this house it would be covered in glitter or sequins! You could use stickers, or ribbons, or photos – anything that makes it special to your Confi-kid.
- Every day the aim is to write down 3 things you are grateful for that day on 3 slips of paper and pop them into the jar – they can be as simple as ‘I am grateful (or you could use thankful) for having my favourite breakfast cereal this morning’
- Whenever you or your Confi-kid is feeling a bit low, you will soon have a jar of reasons to smile again!
Gratitude prompts are a great way to get started,
- I’m grateful for three things I hear:
- I’m grateful for three things I see:
- I’m grateful for three things I smell:
- I’m grateful for three things I touch/feel:
Gratitude Letter or Email
Write a hand-written letter, or email, to a person you are particularly grateful to have in your life and whom you are probably really missing right now. Be detailed. Express all the wonderful qualities about this person, and how they personally have affected your life for the better.
Do it unexpectedly. This exercise is guaranteed to make the recipient smile!
And finally… the one I need your help with…
CONFI-KIDS GRATITUDE TREE
At the moment, we have a tree located on the racecourse which we set up for Easter – I am going to turn this into my GRATITUDE TREE.
I would love you and your Confi-Kids to write either letters of gratitude (or fill in the template below) and bring them to the Confi-Kids Gratitude tree and tie them on. It would be amazing, if we could fill the tree with notes of GRATITUDE! Message me a picture when you’re there so we can track it growing!