A recent study out of the University of California-Davis and the University of Miami showed an extremely strong connection between gratitude and high levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, and energy, and low levels of depression. For the study, several hundred people were required to write daily in a diary. One group recorded experiences of their day; a second recorded negative events; and the third made a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The study found that the “gratitude list” group reported increased levels of optimism and lower levels of stress, made more progress toward personal goals, exercised more, and were more likely to feel loved than the other two groups. Parents who want to bring the results of the study into their own home can try one of the following:
• Gratitude journal: Encourage children to write a list of things they’re thankful for that day. If bedtime has too many tasks attached, try right after dinner.
• Gratitude as prayer: Go around the table before a family meal and have each person mention something they are thankful for from the day.
• Count blessings out loud: Parents can model thankfulness by making sure their thankful comments outweigh complaints.
—by Annemarie Scobey from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the 2010 and 2011 General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association. Here’s a sample issue.
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