My first born. He is so much like me, which is why we can tend to butt heads a bit. He has a huge heart, but he also has a tendency to get frustrated or whiny and stay stuck in that feeling, and it can bring down the energy of the whole house. Funny how the Lord gives us a little mirror to ourselves in our children. I have learned more about what I need to develop in my own life by oberseving what qualities I need to cultivate in my children.
This weekend, instead of letting his frustration and disappointment affect everyone, the two of us snuck away and I taught him a strategy that I have found helps me when I am feeling stuck in frustration, disappointment, or any other negative emotion. We went back and forth listing all the things we are grateful for.
There has been a lot of research in the field of "Positive Psychology" and in all the attributes one can develop, gratitude is most strongly associated with mental health. Here are some of the powerful benefits of gratitude:
•Improved physical, emotional, and social well-being
•Greater optimism and happiness,
•Improved feelings of connection in times of loss or crises
•Heightened energy levels
•Strengthened heart, immune system, and decreased blood pressure
•Improved emotional and academic intelligence
•Expanded capacity for forgiveness
•Decreased stress, anxiety, depression, and headaches
•Improved self-care and greater likelihood to exercise
•Heightened spirituality -- ability to see something bigger than ourselves
The whole exercise lasted 5 minutes and instead of the two of us ending in a "battle of wills," we both felt completely better, happy, and were able to go back to enjoying the beautiful day. Gratitude is definitely something I want to keep cultivating in my children, and in myself.
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