The Practice Of Being Grateful

I’ve shared here before that I have Bipolar Type II. For me, that means that sometimes my mood is heightened – I multi-task like an octopus on speed! My mind is full of thousands of ideas, I talk too much, my concentration is poor – I have to write everything down, I don’t sleep well … Then there are low days, I still get up and get to work, but I feel a huge sadness, I’m quite emotional and I find it difficult be around people – I get huge anxiety and low self-esteem. Luckily this doesn’t happen very often.

I have learnt coping strategies for these low days. I avoid certain things – stressful situations, negative people … and I try to do things that elevate my mood. For me that’s writing, listening to music, getting outside in nature, focus on positive thoughts …

One thing that’s great for our children’s wellbeing is to get them into the habit of being grateful for things they have in their life. The habit of being grateful helps them to focus on positive thoughts and feelings and is so important for their future wellbeing.

Every morning, when I wake up, I now focus on one or two things that I’m grateful for in my life. It’s easy to do, we all have a lotto be grateful for – it could be:

* being healthy
* having someone to love
* having a home
* having enough food

– for children it might also be

* having a mummy/daddy
* going to the park
* having a friend
* learning to swim …

Just practicing being grateful – maybe first thing in the morning, or last thing at night, ask and share “What are you grateful for today? Today I’m grateful that you drew me a beautiful picture.” Maybe write down what you’re grateful for in a ‘grateful note book’ – or on post-its and put them in a ‘grateful’ jar or tin. This is then a great resource for any time that your child is feeling sad or upset. You can open the book/jar/tin – and read out some of your reasons to be grateful.

You know the song from ‘The Song of Music’? – ‘My Favourite Things’

“Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver-white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad”

Knowing how to be grateful is great for getting your children in the habit of being positive, and it’s great for their wellbeing – now and in the future.

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