We are in the middle of a world-wide pandemic. Life is stressful to say the least. It’s uncertain, unstable, and unpredictable. And while there are varying levels of stress that families are feeling depending on their circumstances, most everyone is feeling some type of stress right now. So the question is, what do we do about it?
The answer is Practice Gratitude.
Dr. Brené Brown states "practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there's enough & that we're enough." In times of stress, it’s important to focus on what you can control. While many of the events that are taking place right now are things that we do not have control over, we can control our homes, what our family and children are exposed to, and how we respond to current events, mandates, news, and whatever else life throws our way.
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” - Brené Brown
As the Fall approaches and pressure increases for families, be sure to care for yourself and others by setting reasonable expectations and having appropriate boundaries. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with thoughts about what work and school or day care will look like. Most school age children will be starting school online. While this may come as a relief to some, it certainly causes problems for working parents and raises concerns about our children falling behind or not getting what they need from a
distance learning model. Remember, that almost every family is having to find an alternate way to do life right now. Do not let this stressor steal your joy. This pandemic is outside of our control. By focusing on those things that we have control over, such as what you are grateful for, we can shift our brain toward the positive. Research says what we focus on is what becomes our truth. Even if we’re faking it, the action of focusing on the positives is still activating that part of our brain. “Fake it until you make it.” So if you find yourself falling into a pit of worry or anxiety, find something to do with your family that will bring you all joy.
“There is no joy without gratitude.” - Brené Brown
By practicing gratitude, you become more aware of what you have to be thankful for. By acknowledging these things as a family, you encourage your children and family to do the same. This can be as simple as having everyone share what they are grateful for at family dinner, bedtime, or family chat. Practicing gratitude daily, eventually becomes a habit and will hardwire your children to see the good in the world, to look for what’s going right, and in turn – live a more joyful life.
“Joy is vulnerable – that’s why we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it. Don’t squander joyful moments by waiting for the other shoe to drop. Lean in and practice gratitude.” - Brené Brown
It takes work, persistence, and vulnerability to practice gratitude on a daily basis. We protect ourselves with thoughts that tell us we have to be miserable right now, but the truth is that with gratitude and vulnerability comes great reward. By practicing gratitude, you will see gains personally, but practicing gratitude with your family will change your entire family's perspective and bring out the joy in them.
With peace & gratitude