Teaching our children to be grateful is a lifetime gift. Studies have shown the benefits of gratitude are powerful: physical health, more optimism, higher life satisfaction, and a real sense of connection to the world that continues through our children’s lives.
Psychologists Robert Emmons with Michael McCullough have been working with scientific data on the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its potential consequences for physical health, well-being, and even improved mental alertness. The knowledge of benefits of gratitude is recorded throughout history. Emmons states, “Thousands of years of literature talk about the benefits of cultivating gratefulness as a virtue,”
In his book Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. Robert A. Emmons states, “Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more protective health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular physical examinations.” He continues, “Gratitude research is beginning to suggest that feelings of thankfulness have tremendous positive value in helping people cope with daily problems, especially stress.”
Lisa Aspinwall, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Utah stated, “There are some very interesting studies linking optimism to better immune function.” For example, researchers have been comparing the immune systems of healthy, first-year law students under stress found that, by midterm, students characterized as optimistic maintained higher numbers of blood cells that protect the immune system, compared with their more pessimistic classmates.
There is so much for our children to be grateful for this season, as family and friends gather together it is a perfect time to teach gratitude. As adults we see many people with a lack of appreciation. Thankfulness has become a huge challenge in this fast-paced, instant gratification world in which our children live in every day. Let’s use this season to teach our children sincere appreciation or gratitude for others; incorporating thankfulness into their daily lives, cultivating optimism, and overall healthier lifestyle.
Below are some sites, books and movies to share the power of gratitude with your family during this lovely season.
- You’ll Thank Me Later – A Guide to Nurturing Gratitude in Our Children (And Why That Matters)Author: Annie M Zirkel
- Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes and Doris Barrette
- Henry’s Life As A Tulip Bulb or Developing an Attitude of Gratitude by Linda M. Brandt
- Thanks & Giving: All Year Long by Marlo Thomas and Christopher Cerf
- Gratitude by Dan Zadra, Steve Potter, and Jenica Wilkie
- Gratitude: A Journal by Catherine Price
- Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Everyday of Your Life by M. J. Ryan
- It’s a Wonderful Life Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore
- Miracle on 34th Street Starring Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, and Gene Lockhart
- A Christmas Carol Starring Alastair Sim, Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison,
- A Charlie Brown Christmas (Remastered Deluxe Edition) Starring Ann Altieri, Chris Doran, Sally Dryer, and Bill Melendez
Slide show has many Gratitude Quotes to post and enjoy.