Giving thanks costs nothing, but it may be one of the best things that we can do for our families.
Research shows that expressing gratitude lowers stress and improves mood, relationships and physical health. Taking a moment each day to focus on what we appreciate can dramatically enhance our lives and strengthen our families.
How? According to studies from U.C. Davis, U.C. Berkeley, U.C.L.A. and other universities, finding reasons to be thankful each day lowers stress hormones by 20% or more, naturally increases the brain chemicals that help us feel happier and can even reduce the effects of aging on the brain. Studies have found that a daily gratitude practice leads to lower blood pressure, improved immunity to disease, enhanced heart health and better sleep. According to research, incorporating thankfulness into daily life also decreases anxiety and depression, and can help people feel more optimistic.
Practicing gratitude offers perspective on our lives, from appreciating what we have to understanding that hard times won’t last forever — and knowing that help is there when we need it. The good feelings that come from being grateful can help us connect with others to create a family network, help our children develop social and emotional skills, and help us learn more about parenting and child development. All of which, of course, can help make our families strong.
In celebration of what gratitude can do, First 5 LA is extending Thanksgiving this year, with First 5 LA’s “50 Ways to Show Gratitude During the Holiday Season” Beginning November 1, 2017, we’re offering a daily idea for bringing more gratitude into your family’s life for 50 days, which you can start at any time. The point is to cultivate a habit of finding the good — and you can begin right now by taking a moment to think of just one thing that you appreciate in your life.
- What are you grateful for?
- Gratitude Rocks activity
- Gratitude Jar activity
- Nurturing an Attitude of gratitude
- The Many Ways to Give Thanks
- Appreciation Portraits
- Homemade Gifts to Make and Give