Around this time of year we are reminded to be thankful. Of course, that message gets a bit drown out by the arrival of Christmas to store windows, shelves and TV commercials earlier and earlier every year. In the midst of change, transition and moving, it can be hard to slow down long enough to practice and experience gratitude. Here are 5 ways to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” in yourself and your family year round: (And for 6 habits of highly grateful people with some cool statistics, click here.)
1. Contemplate your own death every now and then. Yep, that sounds really morbid but asking yourself questions like, “What would I do if I had only 5 days left to live?” gets you incredibly focused on what is most important to you. Once you zero in on those critical things, do them!
2. Focus on quality over quantity. Sometimes “thank you” is a rote, unconscious response to an act of service or compliance. When you ask your kids to pick up their toys or put dishes in the dishwasher (and they actually DO it), recognize more than the compliance. “Thank you for picking up your toys the first time I asked. I appreciate you doing that quickly.” Back up your role modeling with some coaching to help your kids deliver quality-over-quantity thank you’s.
3. Tap the brakes. Slow down every day with your family to identify what you’re grateful for. Try to focus less on things and more on people, actions or events. “Even though it gets crazy, I am so grateful that we have lots of family to celebrate the holidays with.”
4. Make it visual. The old saying, “seeing is believing” is, well, believable. Write out your gratefulness on a notecard, in a list or use a dry erase marker on your bathroom mirror. Keep it visual to keep it front of mind. Keeping it front of mind will eventually lead of a habit of looking for reasons to be grateful all around you.
5. Put it into action. Random acts of kindness are good for the soul and for your health. Click here for a video clip on how random acts of kindness transformed an entire school and community.
For more information about the Moving Families Initative, please visit www.movingfamiliesinitiative.com.