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Wellness Tip of the Month

Wellness Tip - Give Thanks In All Circumstances!

This month’s wellness tip focuses on the value of cultivating a grateful heart.

Did you know that giving thanks comes with a host of
benefits? Gratitude has been shown to:

● Improve sleep
● Boost immunity
● Increase mood
● Decrease anxiety and depression
● Support heart health

The list goes on! As modern psychological research continues to present new findings supporting the
physical benefits of gratitude, God’s Word holds true that we are called to “...give thanks in all
circumstances.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

I can’t help but think of the Veggie Tales song that Madame Blueberry sings after she realizes that a happy heart is not dependent on physical possessions. Instead, she learns to thank God for every little thing He has already given her - a new day, the sun in the sky (particularly applicable here in Calgary), friends, a piece of apple pie, and God’s unconditional love. The question is, how can we actively cultivate hearts of gratitude in our children?

Here are some practical ideas:

Step #1: Model Gratitude Daily
Although it may not feel this way as your children get older, parents are a child’s most influential role model. They pick up on the values, likes and dislikes, and characteristics that you model every day. As you begin to develop a habit of gratitude, your children will start to model this as well. Whether you choose to keep a gratitude journal, spontaneously say what you are grateful for throughout the day, memorize passages about gratitude, or write “thank-you” letters to people you appreciate, your actions and attitude will rub off on your family. An attitude of gratitude is infectious!

Step #2: Empathize with your child... without letting them get stuck in their feelings
Our #1 aim is to glorify God IN all circumstances, not FOR every circumstance. Your child is going to have some bad days, we all do. Help them to remember that it’s okay to feel discouraged, overwhelmed, disappointed, frustrated, or sad sometimes. They don’t have to feel happy about that experience. However, after you empathize with the challenges that they experienced that day, encourage them to come up with 3 things they are grateful for as well. This isn’t meant to disqualify your child’s bad day or the feelings that come along with it. Rather, it is an exercise that will strengthen their resilience and emotional stability as they learn to thank God for His good gifts instead of dwelling on situations that can’t be changed.

Step 3: Make Gratitude Fun!
Gratitude doesn’t have to be a chore! There are countless activities that you can do with your family to promote an attitude of gratitude. Many of these activities can even be done in the car as you drive to or from school.
● Alphabet Gratitude Scavenger Hunt: Make a list of things you are grateful for, starting with “A” and ending with “Z”. You can do this together as a family or make it a competition!
● Make a gratitude jar: Keep a jar in your house with a stack of papers or sticky notes available. See how quickly your family can fill the gratitude jar. Think of a little incentive to celebrate once you have filled the entire jar.
● Gratitude Pictionary: Try out this game for some family night fun! The theme of each picture is, you guessed it, “Gratitude”. All the same rules apply (no words, letters, or numbers, 60 second time limit, once a word is guessed, play goes to the other team, etc.) You can use the board game that comes in a regular Pictionary set, or just enjoy drawing and guessing!

If you’re interested in more game ideas, take a look at these Eight Easy Gratitude Activity
Ideas for Families. Wishing you and your family a blessed October!

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