Health and gratitude go together this holiday season

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s important to slow down and take a moment to cherish the world around us with gratitude. But what exactly does it mean to live with gratitude? To practice gratitude is to experience a great sense of wonder, appreciation, and mindfulness. And above all, gratitude is truly beneficial to your overall health. A positive mindset can lead to better sleep, decrease the risk of anxiety and depression, improve immune function, and may even strengthen relationships.

When it comes to kids, some studies suggest that children who feel kindness and gratitude have improved focus, are better able to self-regulate their emotions, and have more generous behavior toward their peers. To help build “attitudes of gratitude” at home, remember these important family practices of gratitude to implement into your everyday routine:

Discussion and mindset

Discussing gratitude as a family can help maintain positivity at home. Take time at the end of the day or over a meal to reflect on the positive happenings of the day. Consider having your kids also keep a gratitude journal to write down something each day that they are grateful for.

Make helping a family affair

Involve your kids in helping with projects to help others or around the house. This can be delivering a meal to a sick friend, volunteering, or collecting cans of food. You will be surprised at the fulfilling conversations that arise from these gestures. Additionally, teamwork is key! Involve children in the cleanup process after family activities to make it a true team effort.

Sharing is caring

Teach your kids the idea of sharing with friends and strangers. If your children receive an allowance, consider having them share a portion with a friend or local charity. You can also have your children donate old toys and clothes to a local donation center.

Sharing in thanks can lead to many cherished moments with family and friends. And feeling a sense of community is an essential element to help families truly thrive.
Dr. Susanna Block is a pediatrics specialist at the Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Campus.

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