“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” –Oprah Winfrey
Every year, millions of American families come together to celebrate Thanksgiving. During this holiday, we give thanks for the good things in our life. However, celebrating gratitude can bring numerous benefits all year round. Gratitude has the strongest link with mental well-being, including increasing self-esteem, better sleep, higher energy levels, increasing optimism, decreasing anxiety, and reducing depressive symptoms. One study showed that participants that maintained a gratitude journal were 25% happier than those in a control group who did not participate in the technique. Identifying things we are grateful for and focusing on positives help to rewire our brains to be more optimistic, happier, and healthier.
Here are some ways to practice gratitude:
Have your family list things they are grateful for at dinner or bedtime
Record one or more things you are grateful for in a Gratitude Journal each day and read it on a regular basis
Ask your child, “What was your happiest moment from today?
Send notes of appreciation to a friend or loved one to let them know how much they mean
Write thank-you letters
Exchange homemade gifts Volunteer; Join a cause that's important to you
Donate money, time, goods, or talent
Go for a walk and appreciate the fall foliage, weather, and nature
Give at least one compliment daily, whether directly to a person or by sharing your appreciation of something ("I love how quiet it is in the morning, don’t you?")
When you find yourself in a bad situation ask: What can I learn? When I look back on this, without emotion, what will I be grateful for?
Pay it forward/Include an act of kindness in your life each day
Cook meals with love, think of the people you will feed
Say thank you for the little things that people do for you, things you normally take for granted
About the Writer: Amber Bennett, LMHC, RPT
Amber is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Registered Play Therapist with years of experience working with children, adolescents, and their families. She has received extensive training under the direct instruction of Dr. Terry Kottman, the creator of Adlerian Play Therapy. As a play therapist, Amber believes in using the power of play, which is a child’s most natural form of communication, to connect with clients and help children resolve their challenges in a safe, nurturing environment.
Amber promotes positive change with her clients by providing a variety of therapeutic approaches for individualized care, including: Play therapy, Autplay, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Social Skills Groups, Trauma Informed Care, Strengths Based, and Solution Focused Therapy.