5 Activities to Bring Gratitude To Your Home This Weekend
We are grateful for the chance to celebrate the International Day of Happiness today. In honor of this important global day, we have put together a list of activities to help you celebrate with your families this weekend based on gratitude.
At IPEN we are strong believers in the effects of gratitude on well-being, physical health, sleep, and relationship quality. But don’t take our word for it – take a look at some great research on gratitude and its effects below:
- Gratitude positively affects cardiovascular and immune functioning (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).
- Gratitude is one of the strengths most robustly linked to satisfaction and happiness (Wood, Froh & Geraghty, 2010).
- Grateful students earn better grades (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008)
- Grateful people enjoy their work (Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010).
- Grateful people have better exercise habits, positive moods, good sleep patterns and less depression and are more likely to engage in a wide range of behaviors aimed at helping others (Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010).
- Grateful people have greater goal achievement and general optimism. Gratitude has religious or spiritual benefits as well, such as a feeling of interconnectedness with life, a general sense of responsibility towards others, and less of an emphasis on material goods (Wood, Froh, & Geraghty, 2010).
- For more great gratitude research see the Greater Good Science Center’s articles on why gratitude matters.
Given its importance, how can you increase gratitude at home with your children and loved ones? We are here to help! Try out one of these activities to celebrate the International Day of Happiness:
Pack a bag and get out of the house and into nature! Take your family on a walk somewhere away from the stress of life. On your walk ask everyone to notice three micro-moments of gratitude. Make sure you explain that gratitude can be big (i.e. my family) or small (i.e. the way the trees are starting to grow back their leaves). As you go along, everyone can share what they are grateful for.
2. Gratitude Dinner
Everyone loves dinner, and this is a way to make it even better! Before eating, ask everyone to go around and say one thing they are grateful for today. While eating, challenge everyone to think of one more small bit of gratitude they thought of while eating. At the end of dinner, ask everyone to share the new thing or person they are grateful for since dinner began.
Bring out the colored pencils and paper and turn on some music – its time for gratitude art! Rather than merely saying what you are grateful for, turn it into a way to use your creativity. Have your family think of one thing they are grateful for this week and draw a picture or symbol of that one thing. Be sure to allow for some show and tell at the end! Bonus points for hanging up the artwork as a reminder that there is so much to be grateful for.
4. Gratitude Before Bed
Research has shown that writing down what you are grateful for before bed can help you sleep better. Let’s try it out! Before you go to bed, have your family together share and write down three things they are grateful for. Keep the piece of paper by your bed and try this practice for the next week.
5. Gratitude Letters
Gratitude is best when shared. Have your family think of one friend, family member, neighbor, teacher, etc. that they are grateful for. Spend some time writing down a letter to send to that person. Make it even more fun by decorating the cards together as a family! You can expand this practice of gratitude letters by having a basket of blank cards in the kitchen labeled “for gratitude” that your family can easily pick up & fill out whenever they like.
We hope you enjoy these activities – if you try any of these out we would love to see your photos at #IPENgratitude @PosEdNet!
As always, if you have any activities that you have done and worked well, please share with us firstname.lastname@example.org.