For those of you that are new to this site, you may not know that I spent my graduate studies diving deep into the realms of happiness, sadness and all things mental health. Better stated, Counseling Psychology. I’m passionate about mental health, so much so that I used to post Mental Health Monday posts even though it really had nothing to do with couponing. Now that my site is shifting from just saving money to a more broad full life focus, I am excited to start sharing more posts on improving your mental health and the mental health of your children.
This past weekend the APA released a research study that showed the importance of gratitude in the mental health of children. I am a big believer in focusing on the positive, even when you are surrounded by negative and now there is research to back that up. Take a look at this excerpt from a recent research article:
Students “who were among the most grateful gained 15 percent more of a sense of meaning in their lives, became 15 percent more satisfied with their lives overall and became 17 percent more happy and hopeful about their lives. That group also had a 13 percent drop in negative emotions and a 15 percent decrease in symptoms of depression.”
In addition, they noted this had nothing to do with income:
“You don’t have to be rich to feel grateful,” posited [the lead researcher]. “We’ve found poor kids are very appreciative…. I see Medicaid kids and children from wealthy homes, and I don’t see any greater or lesser sense of gratitude from one group or another. It’s fairly low in both groups,” he said. “Unfortunately, our society isn’t focused much on gratefulness; it’s become out of vogue to talk about it,” said Miller.
Oh goodness. Are you like I was, going an entire day without talking or thinking about thankfulness? If so, never fear, you can start fresh today. Everyone agrees that the best way to achieve any behavior in your children is by modeling. Ask yourself a bold question, “Does my life display gratitude? Am I a thankful person?” Trust me when I say this, if the findings of greater mental health are true for grateful kids, then the findings of greater mental health in adults will be the same. Now, does this mean you have to be sunshine and roses all the time? Not at all. Some days are hard, really hard. But, we can all find one thing to be thankful for. One that that has been a positive amid the sea of negative.
I will share something with you that our family does each night, something that has quickly become one of my very favorite parts of the day. This works for families or individuals and takes but a few minutes to change your focus and your attitude. Sit together and ask each other one thing you are thankful for from the day and allow each person to talk freely without interruptions. Not only will you be changing your focus to thankfulness you will be spending additional time communing as a family. It’s a win, win. Our last step is to then tell God how thankful we are for providing what we are thankful for. Look at Psalm 105:1 that tells us, “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples.” He has given all of us much to be thankful for and the more I look, the more blessings I seem to find.
What are some ways you show gratitude in your own life and to others?