[GUEST POST – Jacqui Zdravkovski]
A couple weeks back, sort after Sydney based Counsellor Jacqui Zdravkovski wrote a brilliant article on mindfulness. Jacqui is back with another brilliant article on living gratefully. Enjoy!!!
There is a vast difference between thinking you are grateful and actually practising gratitude everyday to live gratefully. In today’s modern society of the western world it is becoming harder and harder for young people to have a deep sense of gratitude because let’s face it, most things are handed to us on a silver platter.
Electricity, transport, food, water, clothes resources and for many – toys, electrical gadgets and so on. So it’s no wonder most of us especially young children perhaps don’t think twice about how lucky they are to have these things or feel truly appreciative of the day to day living situation around them.
This is how you can start to help your child live gratefully:
- When eating a meal with your kids encourage ‘mindfulness eating’ which means, explore with your kids the taste they are experiencing when eating a certain food, what ingredients they think are in it, where they think the food came from and how long they think mum or dad took to cook or prepare that food. (This helps young kids to slow down and reflect on what they are eating instead of it being simply an automatic process. It promotes thinking about something or someone other than themselves and increases gratitude for not only the food but also everything involved in the process of creating the food and getting it to their plates)
- Mindful conversations can also be used during other things such as bath time, driving in a car etc.
- Spark light conversations with your children around the fact that some other children don’t have access to the certain things your children have- reassure them it is not their fault however it just means they should take extra care of their things because they are very special to have them. Perhaps encourage them from time to time that they can give away some of their unused or old toys to kids who aren’t as lucky to have them and take them with you when you hand in these toys to whatever donation location you choose- praise these selfless acts.
- During breakfast time ask your children to think of two things they are grateful for/happy/feel lucky to have (language can vary to match age level) and briefly explore each family members answers. Do the same for dinner time or bed time.
This practise of gratitude will soon become a habit to a young person and they will start to naturally name more than two things, further than this a deep sense of gratitude will be embedded in them as well as in your whole family.
What happens when you start to live gratefully?
- You start to appreciate the little things in life, this makes you happier and more loving to yourself and others.
- You naturally start to focus on the positives (what you have), instead of the negatives (what you don’t have).
- You become more present and mindful and are able to better reflect on things and people around you as well as on yourself.
- You become more respectful to the world around you and naturally want to help anyone in need.
Gratitude has a ripple effect, you can easily spot that loving and grateful person in the crowd, you can easily be apart of that effect by introducing and practicing gratitude in your family.