What is gratitude?
For me, gratitude means to pause, notice, and appreciate. In doing so we must slow down, recognize something that makes us feel good, and give it some appreciation. When practicing gratitude for yourself, you take time to acknowledge all your hard work or your wins throughout the day. I encourage you to pause here for just a moment and notice what comes up for you when you hear the word gratitude.
My personal gratitude practice has many shapes and sizes. Sometimes my personal practice is journaling daily. Oftentimes, my practice looks like reflecting on my day on my way home from work. My practice also looks like calling a family member or friend and letting them know I was thinking about them. Practicing gratitude for myself may also look like giving myself permission to rest, going on that social media cleanse, or taking a day off.
Practicing gratitude has many proven benefits. When we express gratitude our brain releases serotonin and dopamine (aka the feel good hormones). This simple practice can be done ritually, spontaneously, individually, or as a family. Here are some ideas of ways to practice with your children: creating a ritual at the dinner table by having each family member state something they are grateful for, letting your child know you are thankful when they do something, or encouraging your child to draw or write a letter to someone who they are thankful for. Another way of practicing gratitude spontaneously can be noticing your child’s behaviors and acknowledging them in the moment. This could look like, “it was really kind of you to ___” or “it really helped me out when you ___”.
Currently I am grateful for the love and support I receive from my friends and family. My clients for letting me into their world. The Mighty Oaks team for constant encouragement and guidance. My body and all that it does for me. And lastly, my pup Ava who gives me my daily dose of oxytocin. What are you grateful for?
Jessica Veillon, M.S., LPC Associate, NCC