Let’s face it: feeling grateful isn’t always easy. As moms, it can be hard to maintain a peaceful, thankful attitude, partly because we have so much to focus on, and so much to do.
But when we look at life through a lens of thankfulness, somehow, all the stress that can come with parenting seems to fade. (Several studies have actually shown that an attitude of gratitude dramatically reduces stress hormones. What mom doesn’t need that?!)
So what are some things we can do to be more grateful? Here are five tips:
1. Voice your thanks. I love the quote: “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.”—G.B. Stern. Don’t assume the people in your life know you are thankful for them. Tell your kids, tell your husband, tell your friends. In thanking, you will feel more thankful.
2. Silence the negative. Make an effort not to complain. When you stop talking about the things you’re unhappy about, or the things you feel are lacking in your life, you stop thinking about them as much too. And suddenly, your focus shifts to the positive.
3. Turn frustration into gratitude opportunities. When you look at the mess of toys all over the house, take a minute to be thankful that your kids are healthy and can play. When you look at the sink full of dishes, stop and be grateful for the food your family has to eat. Often, being grateful is just a matter of refocusing.
4. Start a gratitude journal. After you get in the habit of writing down things that you are thankful for, you’ll be surprised at how naturally this will come, and how your focus will change. The more I think about all I have to be thankful for, the more I think about all I have to be thankful for! It’s a humbling exercise and a beautiful way to capture life.
5. Empty, so you can fill. Take time to de-stress, work through issues, resolve difficult relationships, pray, and heal past hurts. It can be hard to be grateful if you are harboring pain, anger, guilt, or things like that. Gratefulness is a heart issue and if your heart is hurting, it can make feeling thankful difficult.
I think it also helps to remember we are not alone as moms. Even in bad times, remembering that others are going through or have been through what we are going through, helps. Sometimes, asking for help or connecting with others who are going through a similar situation is just the thing we need to give us enough encouragement to be able to feel hopeful and thankful again.
What about you? Is being grateful an area you want to work on? Do you have any tips to share?