By Ashley Werner. This post is sponsored by Greenland Homes.
More Gratitude in 2020
Life is busy, right? I’ve been wanting to practice positivity and gratitude more in my house for a while now, but honestly, I keep forgetting. It’s something I always think about right before falling asleep. But before that we had homework, sports, chores, dinner to make, the dishwasher to unload, the next load of laundry to put in, then showers, brushing teeth, and finally bedtime! Bedtime is my favorite time of day (I’m still sleep deprived with a 6 month old). With 3 kids, I’m ready for bed at about 6pm, but bedtime isn’t until 8:30. Anyone feel me on that?
We’ve gotten a very small start on gratitude. When and if we eat dinner together, we’ll each take a turn saying how our day was and what our favorite part was. Asking my kids to tell me their favorite part of the day was my first attempt at trying to be more positive as a family. I’m finding that I need to increase my efforts. My middle-schooler is always complaining and my tween is dealing with bullies and all the other stresses that come with a changing mind and body at this age. We’ve found ourselves in a place where we’re dealing with more complicated feelings and situations in life.
So I went on the hunt for something we could do together as a family to start being more grateful and positive. We have so much to be thankful for and I know that focusing on gratitude will make us a happier family. Did you know …
Being Grateful Changes You Inside & Out
Taking ONLY 5 minutes a day to journal your gratitude can increase your overall well-being by more than 10%. Why? Listing out what you’re thankful for makes you feel even more thankful for everything else. It’s a big positive loop for your brain. (Read more research here.)
People who practice gratitude find changes happening on the inside and the outside. They are happier, have less depression and anxiety. Plus, they start seeing other benefits like making new friends, getting promotions and new opportunities at work, and more. Practicing gratitude makes such a huge impact!
But it doesn’t happen overnight …
You Have to Practice Before You See Results
The changes aren’t going to happen over night. Sorry! You’re going to have to put in some work. Cultivating gratitude can take several months before you see a huge benefit. That’s because while you’re practicing gratitude, you’re also changing your personality … and habits are hard to break!
In my research, I’ve spoken with others who’ve started journaling what they’re grateful for. One person I spoke with had started doing this while she was deep into depression. She started journaling one thing every day that she was grateful for in a notebook. She said at first, she was only writing down things like “my car started today” or “I showered in hot water”. She didn’t feel any better, but she kept at it. Then one day she was feeling so much better. And then another day realized she was feeling even better and was getting back to her old self. She swears by this method and her story got me to thinking of ways to incorporate this “one thing a day” journaling method for my family.
So I came up with this family activity …
Every day before bed (right before it’s time to brush our teeth), we’re going to take time to write ONE THING we’re grateful for from that day on our “Positivity Poster”. What makes me most excited about this activity is that we get to look back at the end of the year and see all of our memories.
For this project, you’ll need:
- Art canvas
- Scrapbooking paper
- Grateful attitude!
For my sample project, I used an 8×10 canvas. I’d recommend using a bigger size, like 18×24 so the kids have enough room to write.
I bought scrapbook paper from a craft store to cut out colorful letters for “2020”. I used what I thought was a bright floral pattern, but when I was finished I realized it actually blended in quite a bit. So I’d recommend using paper that’s even brighter for yours.
- Cut the numbers “2020” out of your scrapbook paper.
- Glue the numbers on your canvas. They can take up as much or as little room as you want on the canvas.
- Start writing what you’re grateful for! Use different colored pens and markers as you go.
You’ll notice on my example project, some things are written down in bigger letters to stand out. Those are family members, big milestones, and family vacations. I did this because it’s fun to see those big memories stand out and the kids like to see their names on the canvas, but also because I wanted to help them think outside the box about what they were thankful for. If they see those big items are already on the canvas then they’ll come up with something else.
I also had to give my kids some examples of things to help get them into this new frame of mind. Here are some of the ideas that might help your family, too:
- Video games
- Science experiments
- Family & friends (list out their names)
- Snacks after school
- No homework
- Fluffy dog paws
- Baby yawns
There are so many little things that make us smile throughout the day that we often forget about later. And we definitely forget about those things with it feels like everything is going wrong and nothing is going right. I plan to look back at our positivity poster throughout the year when I need reminders and I will encourage my kiddos to do the same.
Speaking of gratitude, before we go, I want to say thanks …
Thank you, Greenland Homes!
I want to send a quick “thank you” to Greenland Homes for sponsoring this blog post! Greenland Homes builds custom and production homes throughout central Iowa. They’re vested in their customer’s happiness, which is why they offer a 2-year builder warranty and why they are getting involved in projects like this blog post.
If you’re looking to upgrade to a bigger home, then check out Greenland homes! They’re currently building in Ankeny, Altoona, Bondurant, Waukee, Grimes, Granger, Norwalk, Elkhart, and more! Plus, they also build custom homes if you already have land ready to go. One of their popular family-friendly floor plans right now is the Harrison Plan. It has 4 bedrooms and plenty of room, but is also part of the American Dream Series which means it was built with affordability in mind so you won’t blow your budget when you upgrade your home. There are a few Harrison plans ready to tours in Ankeny, Altoona, and Waukee – so if you want to tour one just let Tammy Heckart, Re/Max Concepts know (515-778-8807).
Photos by Ashley Werner.