10 days of gratitude
We are excited to start a series on gratitude as we lead up to Thanksgiving next week. Gratitude and appreciation are to be focused on all year round. This year we wanted to really highlight gratitude as we have seen people’s attitudes and moods stretched thin due to the current Covid-19 crisis. It is hard not to jump on the roller coaster of ups and downs that the pandemic has brought us. We long for the days when we could have a “normal” life, see our friends, eat in a restaurant, go see a play. It is not hard to find someone talking on social media about what they miss and how stressed they are. As mental health professionals, we are seeing referrals and cases increasing as the pandemic drags on. Getting stuck in negative thinking is becoming more frequent.
How do you combat negative thinking? Some people are used to adversity and have the tools to traverse it. For many though, this could be the first time they have had to navigate a major life challenge or crisis and it can seem insurmountable. But why do some people succeed in the face of adversity while others fall apart? Often it has to do with resilience, the ability to bounce back after a challenge. There will always be problems, difficulties, and challenges. That is a part of life that we all have to face. How we deal with those challenges is related to our resilience. In my practice, I hear clients at times saying they were not born with the skills to be resilient. As a therapist, my response is always that resilience is a skill that you can learn. Yes, some people are naturally good at being able to bounce back but with practice, we can all learn to become more resilient. The concept of resilience is something to explore more, but today our focus will be on the connection of gratitude and resilience.
So why gratitude? Positive psychology research indicates that gratitude helps to increase happiness, improves your physical and mental health, and increases your resilience. When we teach children gratitude we are helping them to develop empathetic skills and showing them the way to bounce back by focusing on what they have rather than what they have not. There is the benefit of gratitude shifting the focus from thinking about ourselves to focusing on others. There are small successes, positive instances, that happen every day that can be overshadowed by all the negativity going on in society. We don’t want to discount the negative feelings. They are something to be identified, acknowledged, and accepted as part of life. This is not intended to put a silver lining on difficult circumstances. Using gratitude to shift to a growth mindset though opens us up to see other possibilities and increases the positivity we bring into our lives.
Our goal this week is to bring you some fun tools and games to help your family to focus on appreciation and gratitude.
Our first activity is Gratitude Bingo. Our Bingo sheet has 24 activities for families to increase their awareness of finding the positives in everyday life as well as ways to connect with others and let them know they are appreciated. When someone gets five boxes in a row they get to yell out THANKFUL!!!!!! As an added bonus you can have a family challenge to see who can check off the most boxes.
You can download the PDF here:
A version for the littler kids can be found here:
Check back with us daily or follow us on Facebook and Instagram to find new ways to help build your resilience through gratitude.