November is the month where we tend to think about what we're thankful for especially with the Thanksgiving holiday in the month. Therefore, I encourage you as a family to take time and create an attitude of gratitude. Research published in the Harvard Health Publishing noted “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.”
“Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier or thinking they can't feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met.” Gratitude is something we must teach our scholars. Therefore, model this practice for your scholar and include him/her as you practice. Gratitude will help your scholar focus more on the positives in his/her life too. You both will be more optimistic about the present and future.
Gratitude helps you refocus on what you have instead of what you lack. This is an important benefit to combat entitlement that so many of our scholars feel. This mental state of gratitude grows stronger with use and practice.
Time to practice gratitude
Below are some ways to cultivate and practice gratitude for yourself and with your scholar. Challenge yourself and family to record or share your gratitude daily for the next 7 to 10 days. Check in to see how you feel after you all share. You may find a practice that you decide to keep for several more days.
Gratitude Journal—write down the things that you are thankful for in a notebook or journal. Choose a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what and who you are grateful for. Try picking a number — such as three to five things — that you will identify each day/week. As you write, be specific and think about your feelings when something good happened to you.
Gratitude Tree—similar to a gratitude journal, you write down the things you are grateful for and attach it to a tree (real or drawn) or plant. You can write your grateful thoughts down on a Post-it and attach it to the tree. The visual reminder is helpful as you navigate throughout your day or week to see what you are grateful for. You can add the date to help you not repeat the same grateful thought throughout the week.
Send a thank you note/ text—long gone are the days when people made the time to write a thank you note and mail it. Think back to the last time you received a thank you note. How did you feel reading it? You probably had a little more admiration and respect for that person taking the time to send you a note of thanks. When you send a note or text, you enhance your relationship with the receiver as well as feel happier yourself.
Meditate —Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Often people focus on a word or phrase when meditating. Therefore, try to focus on what you're grateful for (positive people in your life, a pleasant sound, a kind act...) as you meditate.
I hope you will take on the challenge and express your gratitude. Try it! You have nothing to lose by trying it!
Kyri Harris, MS, LPC, NCC
The Main Street Academy
Research obtained from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier