The Road To Your Children’s Happiness and Good Health? Giving Thanks!

by Betsy Ross LICSW CGP on January 5, 2011

Giving thanks is good for your health and overall happiness! Adults who stop to smell (and feel grateful for) the roses have more energy, are more optimistic about life, have more social connections and report feeling happier than their less grateful counterparts. Those who take time and energy to find and appreciate what is good are less likely to be alcoholics, depressives, or insomniacs and to have greater resistance to viral infections and exercise more. What could be better than that?

Researchers have discovered that children and adolescents also enjoy benefits from feeling grateful. Youngsters from toddlers to teens, can experience the benefits of being thankful which can lead to a healthier and happier life. According to the Wall Street Journal, children who feel more grateful report receiving better grades, are less materialistic, have a greater desire to be generous and give back, and set higher goals. This is  particularly important when considering that families in transition due to separation or divorce face many challenges that can impinge on overall happiness and life satisfaction. A recent article by Melinda Beck that appeared in the Wall Street Journal outlined several techniques to help your children to be more grateful and be happier. These included slowing down and taking time to smell the roses, savoring the good times, counting blessings, and  taking care to use positive language. Might we also add that:

Take 10 for a good laugh Seeing the lighter side of things can lower your blood pressure and respiration and cause the corners of your mouth to curl upward in a smile. Maintaining a sense of humor plays an important role in experiencing more happiness and joy in the day to day. Having a good laugh, even at ourselves, can help us feel more gratitude for the good that we have and ease the burden of the disappointments and failures we inevitably will face. Taking a moment or two to focus on what is funny helps children and teens to take in more joy and calm.

Remember to Replenish No one feels grateful when they are exhausted and depleted. Encourage all family members to get enough rest, eat nutritiously, and exercise. Set an example by making sure that YOU do this! If you or your children’s tanks are empty, none of you will be able to see the good in what you have or feel satisfied. 

Be Positive We know that times are tough and life is hard. But, there is still a lot around you that is wonderful and worth feeling grateful about. Every moment you choose what to focus on—the good things you have got (your kids, your health, your hobbies, your friends…) or the bad (what you don’t have, can’t do, haven’t found…). It is up to you to choose where to place your energy and attention. Good or bad, it’s your choice!

Previous post:

Next post: