The psychology of happiness is getting a lot of attention these days. Check out the book Raising Happiness by Christine Carter if you want the details. Essentially, we can all adopt healthy psychological habits that promote happiness, just as a habit of exercise promotes physical fitness.
Practicing gratitude is one of those simple paths to happiness. What an exceptional gift to give our children, teaching them to want and love what they already have in their lives.
Such a practice miraculously turns a sense of "wanting more" into a sense of abundance, a sentiment that is both healthier and more accurate.
Usually, our family takes time at the end of each day to reflect on what we're grateful for, but that habit has lapsed recently.
I'll blame the chaos of the back-to-school schedule.
To reinstate this our effort, I turned to the Gratitude Garden project at Big-Hearted Families.
Of course, this being fall, we chose to do a fall-themed version. We covered leaves gathered during a recent walk with contact paper, essentially laminating them. Using a hole-punch and garden twine, me made a lovely vine to decorate the dining room. Each night, we take turns reflecting on at least one specific thing we are grateful for, adding it to the vine with a dry erase marker.
Well, the goal is to add a gratitude nightly.
The children generally enjoy this opportunity to share their thoughts. So far, they've added their new cousin-to-be, school friends, and macaroni and cheese to their leaves. I'm looking forward to a fall full of colorful gratitude.
Get more ideas for a gratitude practice, including some really beautiful gratitude trees, over at our Pinterest board.
How does your family practice gratitude?