Sustaining Joy and Happiness.
“We’re not grateful because we’re happy. We’re happy because we’re grateful.” Brother David Stendl-Rast
Focusing on the positive improves our growth mindset and makes us happier. By savouring positive emotions we rewire the brain. Feeling gratitude lifts us out of the mind’s usual restless feeling of “not enough” into the joy of sufficiency. The joy of sufficiency is that we are enough and have enough. That is why practicing gratitude teaches us to have a sufficiency and abundance mindset helping children and us, to be and feel resourceful. When we allow ourselves to settle on a “good” feeling, our body chemistry changes to make us feel better. And our neural wiring shifts from the mind’s usual negativity bias – looking out for threats and being able to flip the gratitude switch to noticing all the good things. Research shows that you can shift a bad mood, simply with an activation towards appreciation.
A Gratitude Journal is a great way to practice the things you appreciate.
Starting a What Went Well Journal can begin straight away. It can be a personal practice just for you, or if you have older children you can have them begin their very own journal.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in challenges, problems, obstacles and the pure exhaustion of getting through some days. Often when we look at giving gratitude for the unnoticed gifts it means we need to dig deep in finding them. Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, shows that simply keeping a gratitude journal—regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.
We can help our kids to learn this skill early, with daily practices of gratitude. Whether you write in a journal or have rich conversations at the dinner table of “What went well for you today?”
The What Went Well practice can happen anywhere, any place to engage your child in the process in noticing for themselves or with your encouragement of ”what went well”.
The What Went Well Practice helps you to lead by example and introduce the concept of gratitude and appreciation. At your next meal you can go around the table and say something that each person ask them the What Went Well Question—and you will be moved at how much closer and connected you all feel.If you have a baby, you can ask each other what are some of the things that truly worked out for you.
Here are some ideas of where and when for the WHAT WENT WELL practice.
“What Went Well Today?”
In a Journal
Out and about at the shops
What went well at?
The swimming carnival?
The math test?
Within the day?
At the birthday party?
Visiting grandma and grandad?
Going to the beach?
This inspires your child to look for WHAT WENT WELL and to appreciate the moment, event, learning or the person. You can add on to the awareness of gratitude after they share with.
“You must feel so grateful for that experience.”
“I bet you feel a sense of gratitude to your teacher for helping you out.”
“Who do you need to thank for helping you with your assessment?””
“I see how grateful you were to grandma when you share that story.”
“Wow, I bet you appreciate your friend for finding your necklace.”
Looking for the good!
The What Went Well is a powerful connection based parenting practice.
Have fun powering up gratitude in these precious moments of your child’s life that can slip by without a second glance and no celebration at all.
The Harmony Cards for Kids is a wonderful way to motivate gratitude, happiness, and confidence. You can use them at home or in the classroom to help communicate and have meaningful conversations to inspire gratitude.
Let’s Power Up Gratitude Together.
It takes a village to raise a child.