You know that cozy feeling you get when you close your eyes and picture your children? That’s pure love. And it’s also gratitude. To really hold gratitude in your heart and mind takes practice. I’m offering a few suggestions on how to cultivate a gratitude practice for moms specifically.
Gratitude is the ability to express thanks and show appreciation. In my experience, it takes on a whole different meaning once you have children because your life has expanded and opened up dramatically. You’re aware of the village it takes to raise your child and the many faces behind the scenes that keep your life going.
Gratitude teaches us to trust in the universe more and more when we feel helpless, and it gives us the warm fuzzy feeling inside that all is well.
It also makes us healthy. It does things like improve our sleep, boost relationships, and give us a general feeling of well-being. Read 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits from Psychology Today to learn more about gratitude and your health.
Keeping up a daily practice of gratitude is easy! Below are four ways to make gratitude a meaningful part of your day.
1. Do a Thank You Walk
This can be done anywhere. Say a mental” Thank You” each time you take a step. Right foot-THANK, Left foot-YOU. It’s a great way to get yourself in the habit of just giving thanks. You can do it walking across the kitchen, a parking lot, or heading out to the bus stop. Nobody but you knows you’re doing it, and it’s a great way to add a happy bounce to your step.
2. Express Yourself
Write a letter, send a text, or pick up the phone. Whoever it is, make it a habit to once a day to tell someone what you appreciate about them. Even if you’re at home with the kids all day, you can text or call a random line of kindness. Do it every day, and see how much happier you feel. Be specific with your words, it’ll mean more to the recipient.
3. Hug Someone
Sometimes you don’t need words. A simple hug communicates as much warmth and appreciation as the words Thank You. A hug tells someone You matter, and I care about you.
4. Make It Sacred
Whether it’s a gratitude journal or a special box or jar, have that sacred little space where you can record the things you appreciate daily. Visit it at any time of the day to give yourself a lift. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, started a “Happiness Jar” that provides an incredible template to follow. The process making a record of what you’re grateful for helps those things stick with you.
Let Gratitude Change Everything for You and Your Family
During the season ahead, I encourage you to commit to a daily practice of gratitude. I promise it will change everything. In addition to these tips for moms, check out fellow writer Adelle’s post on how to invite your kids into a practice of gratitude.