What comes to mind when you hear the word psychology?

If someone visits a psychologist an assumption is they have something wrong with them. Psychology is a word that has a negative stigma attached and refers to treating mental health issues.

What is Positive Psychology?

Thanks to researches such as Dr Martin Seligman a modern form of psychology has been created, known as positive psychology. Positive psychology focuses on cultivating a “Good Life” through the growth of our own virtues and strengths.

I really like Wikipedia’s definition of positive psychology:
Positive psychology is the branch of psychology that uses scientific understanding and effective intervention to aid in the achievement of a satisfactory life, rather than treating mental illness. The focus of positive psychology is on personal growth rather than on pathology, as is common among other frameworks within the field of psychology.

Benefits of a positive psychology approach include:

  • Cope better with stress
  • Improving your immunity through optimism
  • Making you more resilient
  • Reduces depression and anxiety
  • Better relationships
  • Academic success
  • Better physical health

What is the #1 essential thing?
Answer: Gratitude 

Benefits of gratitude – Focusing on gratitude and the good things in life rather than what we don’t have creates what Shawn Achor calls ‘The Happiness Advantage’ in his book by the same name – we feel more optimistic and more centred, and our intelligence, creativity and energy rises. Through testing he found our brains are 31 per cent more productive when feeling positive than when our brain is feeling negative, neutral or stressed. These positive feelings also release dopamine, which not only makes us feel happy, it turns on all the learning centres in our brain. Researchers such as Achor have found gratitude to be a powerful force and a key to a persons wellbeing. As parents it’s crucial you teach children to be grateful and give your children the best possible head start.

Growing With Gratitude was created to help parents and teachers teach children positive habits such as gratitude, kindness, optimism, mindfulness and serving others.

It all sounds terrific in theory but how do we learn gratitude and how do we teach it to our children?

Quick Story

In 2012, I started to look into property investing and part of that was researching successful property investors. A theme continued to appear. The theme was happiness was a key to their success. Not they became successful and then happy. I found that interesting, so I continued to look further into what that meant. The more I looked it into it the thing that lead to their happiness was gratitude. A pattern had formed.

Gratitude lead to their happiness and happiness lead to their success.

I was interested in finding out more and for the first time in my life I started to read and wanted to learn more. What I discovered was exciting to me. That discovery was that both gratitude and happiness can be cultivated through little activities. The books I got most value from were:

  • The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
  • The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
  • Positivity by Barbara Frederickson
  • The How to of happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky
  • The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • Mindset by Carol Dweck
  • Flourish by Martin Seligman

I applied a number of the activities to help cultivate gratitude and happiness into my own life. Now it is second nature.

Activities to Help Cultivate Gratitude

Drop it in the Jar: write something you are grateful for on a piece of paper and drop it in the Gratitude Jar CLICK HERE

Gratitude Tree: Write something you are grateful for on a paper leaf and stick it on the Gratitude Tree Poster CLICK HERE

Create a Gratitude Album

  • Make an album filled with photos of loved ones, favourite places you have visited, pets, etc.
  • Your album could also include meaningful letters, newspaper articles, photos of things you are grateful,etc.

Gratitude Buddy

  • Find a friend or family member to be your gratitude buddy
  • Instead of writing things you grateful for share them with your buddy
  • You may like to show your buddy your favourite view of nature, your favourite restaurant, your favourite sporting hero, etc.

Cleaning Up With Gratitude

  • Are you someone who dislikes cleaning/tidying up? Are you frustrated by constantly picking up after your children? Are you annoyed by things being moved around from where you placed them?
  • Here is something that may just help when you feel this frustration.
  • Here is how Cleaning Up With Gratitude works:

Example: Cleaning Bathroom

When cleaning the bathroom you maybe frustrated by a random toy in the bath, a wet towel dumped on the floor, splash marks on the mirror or half a tube of toothpaste spilt. When you experience this kind of frustration catch yourself and change your way of thinking. For example:

When I clean the bathroom I am grateful for:

• My children, even though they are messy

• Our towels we have to dry ourselves

• Our tooth brushes and toothpaste we have to clean our teeth

• Hot water we have to shower in

• The toys my kids have have to play with

When starting new habits it’s important to keep the implementation of the habit achievable. Set a goal of doing 2 gratitude activities with your family in the first week. That is achievable. Then build on from your start the following week.

We have made it fun and easy by creating a very cool resource designed to help you as teachers/parents teach your children positive habits based on gratitude, kindness, optimism, mindfulness and serving others. Home Grown Gratitude and Teacher Tactics are ready made resource to help you create the next generation of grateful, happy and flourishing children.

Please share the way you cultivate gratitude in your life, in your classroom or your families life by leaving a comment below.

If you think family and friends will benefit from learning how to cultivate gratitude  click to share.

Growing with Gratitude-2

Growing With Gratitude Blog
Twitter: @grow_gratitude
Email: info@growingwithgratitude.com.au

PS: If You Want To Teach Your Children/Students Habits Of Happiness In A Fun And Engaging Way  – CLICK HERE

PPS: We currently have schools, teachers and families from 43 countries join the Growing With Gratitude community. Our quest is 50 by the end of 2015.

PPPS: Book your free 30 minute consultation. We’ll talk about your classroom or home, your questions, the program itself, and the best way to implement it in your specific circumstances

Growing With Gratitude is proud to be Included in the
KidsMatter Primary School’s Programs Guide