Gratitude is a “good thing,” right? Research has shown that most people not only value the idea of gratitude but also consider it a virtue. But why does gratitude seem to come easier to some people than others? Are they simply luckier in their life’s circumstances? Or, genetically blessed with a “glass half full” personality?
While these factors may play a role, in truth, the practice of gratitude is just that: A practice. Meaning that it’s something you do on a regular basis so that you get better at it. Incorporating regular opportunities for you and your family to focus on the things for which you are grateful is definitely a “good thing.” It can temporarily boost a sour mood and lead to greater happiness in the long run. Win, win.
Here are a few ways to practice gratitude:
- At holiday gatherings, particularly Thanksgiving, ask each family member to name three things they are happy to have in their lives. Write down what each person says so that you can compare answers for each year.
- Find a charitable organization that can use your help and if you have children, sign them up, too. Maybe it’s packing snack packs for underprivileged school children, or leading a book drive. This is an excellent way to show your kids the joy of helping others without being preachy about it.
- Keep a “gratitude” container (a clear vase or jar is perfect) in a central location, along with small strips of paper and a pen or colored pencils. Encourage family members to write down the things for which they are thankful. Get into the practice of adding to the container every time there’s something even minor to celebrate like a good test grade, the beauty of a cool fall day, learning a new musical piece, a birthday, or doing/receiving something special from a friend.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Insights team!