You don’t need the research to know that cultivating gratitude makes both adults and children happier, kinder and more generous. Gratitude also helps to stave off negative emotional disorders including anxiety disorders and depression. So how do you create more gratitude in your life and the life of your family? Here are 3 ideas:
Start a Gratitude Jar
A Gratitude Jar is the simplest way to start the equivalent of a Family Gratitude Journal. There are many ways to use a gratitude jar, but here’s one suggestion. You could ask your children, or spouse to write down one thing they were grateful for that day and put it into the jar. It could be done together or if the children are older, when they have the time. Then at the end of the week, one person can read everything that the family was grateful for that week. It’s a good thing to keep when a child is feeling sad to read aloud to them. Make sure to be specific about what you’re grateful for!
Gratitude Vision Boards
This ritual is similar to the Vision boards where you see your goals using your digital pictures and magazines etc. Find images, ideas and text that shows what you are grateful for. Real images that include your family, friends etc. creates a much more powerful impact. You can take pictures of your children, their favourite things and create an amazing art project. You can do this collectively as a family or create individual gratitude boards or both! This is much more uplifting than a vision board as it reminds you that you have all of this right now. It’s not something that you’re longing for in the future.
The Gratitude Circle
The Gratitude Circle is similar to a practice that I’ve done with my classroom children. The idea is to put someone in the center of the circle and take turns telling them why you are grateful for them. Of course this particular ritual needs to have certain rules in place. It also makes both the givers and the receiver very vulnerable so please do this ritual if you know that no one’s in a spunky mood. You know what I mean ;).
So, that’s some of my ideas for Gratitude Rituals that you can start with your family. What gratitude ideas and rituals do you practice with your family?
Lakshmi Gosyne is an author, illustrator, web designer and teacher. She worked as a preschool and primary school teacher for 16 years and a Graphic Designer for 4 years before writing two yoga story books: Jungle Walk: A Yoga Story for Kids and Waiting for Dad: A Yoga Story for Kids. You can find out more at www.lakshmigosyne.com