Having a thankful heart gives us hope, makes us smile, takes away the focus on worry and frees us to think of the good things in our life. We become open, the flow on affect can create other beautiful moments, and we are better role models for our children in how to deal with stress. Here are easy ways to have a thankful heart.
Simply smile or laugh
From the moment we are born, we see a smiling face peering down at us. We are encouraged to smile, we encourage our babies to smile – it’s what helps babies attach, to feel safe in their world. It’s the most wonderful first milestone when a baby smiles, we celebrate it and it lasts our lifetime. Smiling is contagious. If you smile, people smile back generally. It takes away fear and encourages an open heart. Research proves that when we smile, we release chemicals such as endorphins that make us feel good. When we laugh, it’s even more contagious. Try it. Just start laughing – either alone or with your family. You may feel silly at first but you will begin to laugh naturally. It’s healing, it’s fun and you will find it easier to be thankful.
Go for that morning or afternoon walk
Exercise gets our blood flowing to our brain and in the quiet part of the day, the fresh morning or the golden afternoon, it can become a beautiful circuit breaker if we’ve been hanging around the home all day; and perhaps worrying. When we walk we can look out, not in, and seek out simple beauty. A flower, a rose to smell if you’re lucky. You can practice being mindful, listing to the sounds, being aware of what you are seeing, noticing your breath, feeling the crunch of stones, or the air on your face. You can decide to make the time specifically for gratitude. When you return home you’ll feel calmer, energised, happy that you’ve given your body some additional oxygen. You will have a thankful heart; and this passes on to your family or friends. I found Jasmine today, it made me feel good.
Buy those flowers for yourself, do something nice for yourself.
For a long time i never bought myself flowers because I’m conscious about what I spend, but I love them. Then, they appeared at markets and I decided that I was going to give myself this little luxury. They don’t have to be expensive, a small bunch can be cut down, and with a few sprigs of greenery from the garden they can plumped out. They look beautiful in the home, they make me smile and feel good. They bring someone else an income. Often i let the petals dry and I keep them to decorate my orders – dried rose petals or lavender. They are also a beautiful way to create crafts with your little ones. Flower fairy people, stuck onto pieces of paper to make notes. Flowers will make you feel thankful; they make you feel good as will anything nice you do for yourself.
Pay kindness forward
When we pay kindness forward, whether calling a friend out of the blue, or leaving a packet of croissants or flowers at the neighbour’s door or buying a takeaway coffee from the cafe that’s struggling through lockdown, we pass on good feelings. It’s that old universal lore of giving and receiving; being generous of spirit, being kind, are traits to be thankful for and make others feel good too.
Similarly, if you wish to buy someone a gift there are beautiful ideas at Little French Heart. Heart cushions, beautiful teddies for children and adults, creative craft kits, or soft toys to make children smile.
Make being thankful a dinnertime ritual
A meal with the family, or alone, can be the perfect time to be thankful because it creates a ritual. As the conversation begins simply go around the table saying one thing you’re thankful for. It is the kind of habit that can recalibrate you after a stressful day. It can show children how to focus on positive things and creates dinnertime conversation. You might learn something about your child or other family members you didn’t know was happening in their day. If we’re alone, then it can bring a warmth to the heart and helps us think creatively about our world. It’s a way to inculcate an outlook of the glass half full; that despite everything, we can be thankful.
Start a gratitude journal
Imagine having a small book that diarises each day just one thing you are thankful for. Over the year you can look back and remember the lovely things that have happened in your life. Its a wonderful activity to share with children. Help them set one up; have them stick drawings or flowers or anything they wish in the diary. When they’re bored or have spent too much time in front of a screen you can suggest they add something to their gratitude journal. It’s the kind of activity that will set them up for life to see the world as a good place. They will be stronger in heart; and ultimately pass that on to those they know; they pay it forward. And that’s something we can all be thankful for.
If you’re finding it really tough to be thankful
If you’re finding things a bit tough with so much going on in the world try contacting headspace. It has many different touchpoints in Australia and internationally. It’s an organisation that provides individuals and families that little extra help if they need it.