We all have happy moments when our hearts swell and we feel blessed. Ironically, hearing about a friend’s illness or financial strife often gives us the nudge we need that makes us pause and realise how lucky we really are.
In these moments a feeling of inner gratitude occurs naturally and spontaneously. Interestingly though, research indicates that people who make an effort to cultivate the feeling of gratitude every day; instead of relying on events that naturally occur in life – experience a range of benefits and live happier, more fulfilled lives. This suggest the art of practicing gratitude instead of hoping it will happen on its own, is really worthwhile.
When it comes to our families, research shows that grateful children are happier and more confident, socialise more easily, are more engaged at school, have higher grades and are less materialistic. But being a mum is hard work. Even on a good day, finding time to practice gratitude in your own life is a big ask, let alone teaching the art of being grateful to our children.
Scientific studies suggest that making the effort to practice gratitude will have an overall positive impact in your family. The discipline of practicing gratitude is not about ignoring the fact that motherhood, or life can be difficult. It is about making space for blessings, and teaching your children to do the same. And the best part is it doesn’t have to take very much time at all. You could transform yourself and your family in less than five minutes a day.
Motherhood overwhelms us all from time to time; more often than many women admit. Evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that women don’t achieve happiness first, and then demonstrate gratitude. The secret is to cultivate gratitude on a daily basis, and happiness follows.
Being a mum can feel like an ongoing battle. For most of us, nothing is going to change what our day, week and life entails, at least not in the short term. But introducing the discipline of mindfully practicing gratitude in your daily life will improve your state of mind, your physical health and most importantly all of your relationships.
Gratitude is one of the primary ingredients in the recipe for all healthy relationships. A person with a grateful personality is more forgiving, more empathetic and even more likely to say “Thank you”. Furthermore, a grateful person is less stressed, has lower blood pressure and a stronger immune system. Studies even link gratitude to a reduced risk of heart disease, and better kidney function.
Grateful people take time every day to think carefully about what they can be grateful for. It may be something tiny, but begin expressing and encouraging your children to express something to be grateful for each day. Before long, you will all be able to recognise blessings without even looking for them.
3 ways to practice gratitude every day in less than 5 minutes
- Take a deep breath. As you breathe in, be grateful simply for the air that you breathe. Pause for a moment to look and listen. Just make a small space for the many blessings you have in your life. Look around and pay attention to sights, sounds, smells, tastes and things you can touch.
- Incorporate a time during your day when the whole family can share something they are grateful for. It could be while you’re in the car on the way to school, or when you sit down to dinner in the evening.
- Try to redirect the material focus in your family. Instead focus on finding time together. Reduce the focus on material things and don’t give your children too much. If you focus on the material things in life your children will come to believe that happiness lies in material possessions.
The psychological benefits you’ll experience from just five minutes of gratitude a day include feelings of joy, optimism, increased life satisfaction, happiness, hope, positivity and less anxiety and depression. You’ll even sleep better.
Taking a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day to deliberately and mindfully focus on what you have to be thankful for brings into sharp focus the amazing gifts we receive each and every day.
Just five minutes of gratitude each day can be the difference between those who feel overwhelmed by the challenges of motherhood and life, and those who have the energy to face them head on.