The wants: they travel in the air, through the net, and into the mailbox. Catalogues, pinterest boards, ads, instagram accounts, they all contribute to a false feeling of need. A desire for more: more clothes, more travel, more toys, more time to create. The wants hit our house hard and fast recently.
Instead of being grateful for two shows, Jude wanted a third. He asked and begged for things at every store. There didn't seem to be enough stuff, privileges, or attention to quench his desires. And the grown ups weren't doing much better. I found myself wanting to shop more. Pining for the money to travel and expand our house. Wanting more and appreciating less. I noticed that focusing on want makes you more apt to complain. It is a formula for dissatisfaction.
Luckily, the anecdote is simple and free. You can treat a case of the wants by cultivating an attitude of gratitude. Once we started focusing on the haves instead of the have nots we all felt a whole lot better. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with striving for more, but it also never hurts to appreciate what you already have. If you'd like to try cultivating gratitude with your family, here are a few things that have worked for us.
6 Tips for Cultivating An Gratitude
1. Keep a gratitude journal. This is a habit that I work hard to keep (I had fallen off the wagon big time). Taking just a few minutes each day to list five things you are a grateful for can really help quell anxiety and place a spotlight on the things you cherish. Any type of notepad will work but I've got a free printable if you'd like to make it extra special.
2. Play three best things. At dinner each night we go around the table and share three highlights from our day. This simple activity has been a lot of fun for us. It allows us a special window into Jude's day at kindergarten and he helps us guess what Ronan would say which often hilarious and sweet. Plus, my husband and I tend to vent to each other about our days so this is a great time to hear what went right!
3. Practice random acts of kindness. This can be as simple as smiling at people as you pass them on the street. Or striking up a friendly conversation in line at the grocery store. Maybe you have enough cash to buy the person behind you a coffee. Spreading happiness makes you feel glad to be alive.
4. Be charitable. Volunteer your time and give to those in need. Nothing makes me more grateful for all I have than truly recognizing those who go without. It can be painful to think about, but helping, even in small ways, is a great way to build thankfulness.
5. Write thank you notes. Do you ever think about that teacher who helped you see the world differently? Do you appreciate how your parents are always there to lend a hand? Does the continued support of your best friend put a smile on your face? What if, out of the blue, you wrote them a thank you note? I'll be honest, I haven't tried this one yet, but I plan on trying my best to write one once a week. (If you'd like to join me, follow on instagram and look for the hashtag #52thankyous, coming soon!)
6. Avoid your triggers. Scale back your social media participation, put those catalogues straight in the recycling bin, go for a hike instead of a trip to the mall. Try to recognize what sparks the wants for you and your family and do your best to avoid them.
I hope these tips help you feel a little fuller and happier this holiday season and beyond. I am so very grateful for my readers. Thank you for visiting my little home on the web.
P.S. - I created the above image as a free printable. Simply save it to your computer, print, and enjoy. (As always all free printable are for personal use only, thank you!)