Tips for making your life more rich and positive.
• Enjoy the beauty, richness, love, and opportunities that already exist in your life.
• Express appreciation to people who do or give nice things to you. (Even if you receive a gift you don’t particularly like, you can still acknowledge the positive qualities of the gift and the thoughtfulness of the giver.)
• Reframe painful or disappointing events as opportunities for growth and learning. Deliberately look for silver linings!
• Become aware of how much of your thoughts and conversation are devoted to complaints, how much of your focus is on what is lacking in your life.
• Be an example of happiness, abundance, and appreciation. Watch out for tendencies to minimize or apologize for the good in your life, either to protect someone less fortunate or out of fear of attracting misfortune. Living small serves no one.
• If you don’t already have one, start a personal gratitude journal. End your day writing down at least three things you feel grateful for.
• Create a family gratitude journal. Encourage everyone in the family to write, draw, or dictate at least one contribution a week. (If weekly participation is impractical at this point, try this activity on birthdays or holidays, or even once a year, perhaps during the week before Thanksgiving or New Year’s.)
• Let the people you care about know that you are grateful to have them in your lives—and why!
A note of caution:
Gratitude is a very personal experience. Watch the tendency to tell others what they should feel grateful for. (Having much to be thankful for does not diminish the reality of sadness or disappointment, or the need to feel those feelings from time to time.)
Also, remember that the idea of gratitude may be difficult for children, especially young children, to appreciate, demonstrate, or even understand. Rather than punish ingratitude, help your children to learn behaviors that express gratitude, and to develop this value as they grow.
Excerpted and adapted from The Parent’s Little Book of Lists: Do’s & Don’ts of Effective Parenting by Dr. Jane Bluestein, © 2021, Father Sky Publishing, Albuquerque, NM
© 1997, 2012, Dr. Jane Bluestein
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