Another post on emotional health. I hope you like the variety of health areas to be explored, practiced and modeled to your children. Gratitude is something that should be practiced daily, in front of our children, so they consider it to be a vital part of life, as important as eating and breathing. Living in feelings of joy, happiness and gratitude are paramount to a healthy, fulfilling life. We want what is best for our children and that includes to be happy no matter their interests and endeavors in life.
“Be curious. Release expectations. Take pleasure in small things and expect good things. Cheerfully engage the moment. Let this become our practice, our mastery, our art.” - The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard.
Children are naturally curious, don't have rigid expectations of the world and take pleasure in small things. They live in the present moment fully, not worrying about what the future may bring or dwelling on what happened in the past. Let's relearn and model their behavior so that they don't lose this natural tendency to be joyful. In return, our lives become more pleasurable.
A few months ago, I wrote a gratitude journal for 30 days straight as an exercise recommended during the Love or Above course by Christie Marie Sheldon. This exercise really did help me start giving gratitude for moments that seem small like the sweet smile my son gave me at lunch and for things we typically take for granted, like running water. It has helped me be more present in the moment and not be thinking so much about the future. Every day, I would physically write out 3 things that made me grateful in the previous 24 hours and try to really relive the moment with all senses.
"I'm so grateful and thankful and happy that..."
This practice has carried over to challenging times to change my mood from less than joyful back to happy and loving. A very nice tool to have when parenting toddlers! I also have been practicing expressing my feelings of gratitude out loud, especially to my husband and children. Modeling desired behavior is the best way to teach children as they are great imitators. How great is it to hear your 3 year old say "I'm so happy we got to go to the park today, maybe we can do it again tomorrow?" He is expressing gratitude and reliving the fun part of his day.
If you eat dinner together as a family, some religions give thanks before you begin eating. Why not have everyone give thanks for something in their day to begin the meal and uplift the mood of everyone else at the table. (It's even good for your digestion as stated in last week's post.) Or, make it a part of the bedtime routine. Before I go to sleep, I mentally express gratitude for at least 3 things.
So I challenge you, try a 30 day gratitude journal. It just takes a few minutes each day to write. Try it in the evening before you get into bed so you enter sleep in a relaxed, happy mood. See how your outlook on life begins to shift as you start taking more pleasure in the moment and appreciate the little things.
And above this written challenge, practice expressing gratitude with your loved ones, friends and coworkers. How much do you tell your children or partner "thank you" and mean it? I repeatedly thank my husband for going to work every day giving me the opportunity to stay home with our kids. I thank my son when he plays nicely with my daughter. Now, I thank my daughter when she holds still for diaper changes!
Do you have other ways you practice expressing and feeling joy and gratitude? Let me know in the comments!
With love, hugs and smiles,
P.S. I want to throw this plug out there for the book, Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard. You can get it for free at MotivationManifesto.com after paying $7 for shipping. I'm not an affiliate or anything, I am just really enjoying reading it as well as listening to the 12 week course that goes into further discussion of the book. A great bargain from one of the leading experts in the field of personal development. I was blown away by this week's chapter and lesson on Love. Maybe I'll write a post about it, but I think you should check out the book for yourself. It is such a meager investment in yourself that could be life-changing.