Living in a beautiful and safe city like Singapore, it can be easy to take what we have for granted and let minor annoyances become bigger issues. But getting upset not only affects your own well being, you might be passing on that negativity to your family. Teaching our bubs to be grateful for what they have is a great life lesson and will help them to grow up into happier, well adjusted individuals. Jodi Jonis, staff writer at the Singapore American School shares some thoughts on being grateful for gratitude.
By: Jodi Jonis, Singapore American School Staff Writer
While gratitude is celebrated annually each year in America during Thanksgiving, there is research that shows we would all do well to incorporate gratitude into our daily practices. Robert Emmons, Ph.D. is professor of psychology at University of California, Davis and an expert on gratitude. He has studied the effects of gratitude on physical health, on psychological well-being, and our relationships. Study after study confirms that regular doses of intentional gratitude have profound effects on our brains, help us sleep, ease depression, make us physically healthier by boosting our immune systems, give us deeper focus, and the list goes on. In his book, Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Emmons whiddles the process down to three simple parts: Recognize what you’re grateful for, acknowledge it, appreciate it.
Here are five ways you can start to practice gratitude. (Warning: once gratitude becomes a regular part of your day, feelings of happiness may increase.)
1 Say it out loud
Make time each day to talk about the blessings that each family member noticed. The dinner table is a perfect place for this conversation.
2 Write it down
One of the most popular ways to reap the benefits of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. The act of writing slows down the thought process and lets you focus on the experience longer, creating a deeper sense of gratitude. You will also have a lasting memory of your gratitude to revisit at any time.
3 Take time to notice your surroundings
Nature is one of the easiest means to celebrate gratitude because it’s everywhere, all the time. Take a few minutes to sit outside, listen to the sounds, find shapes in the clouds with your kids or express how thankful you are that the rain will help the trees stay so green.
4 Curb the complaining
Catch yourself or your kids the next time you find yourself complaining about something (The line in the market was so long today and made me late.) Challenge yourself to find something positive about it. (I was happy that I got to have that conversation with Susan while waiting.)
5. Thank somebody in your community, every day
Noticing all the ways people contribute to your community helps you and your kids be grateful for everything you have. Thank the man who’s sweeping the sidewalk in front of his doorway for making the neighbourhood clean, or thank your neighbour in his garden for giving you a beautiful bougainvillea to enjoy.