Each year, there is a special day for all of us to be thankful. Encouraging kids to say thank you and be grateful can start when they are young.
Isn’t it amazing when science discovers a good reason for something we already do? Like research that shows reading to kids helps then learn to read or playing a musical instrument enlarges parts of the brain. Earlier this year a team at the University of California, San Diego, announced some surprising findings about heart health and being thankful. (A Grateful Heart is a Healthier Heart, APA)
Being grateful can improve hearth health. Almost 200 men and women who had heart disease were followed for several weeks. One group was asked to write down 3 things they were grateful for each day. The results showed this group had an enhanced quality of sleep, better mood, improved heart rate, less inflammation, and best of all, a decreased measure of risk. The study concludes, “a more grateful heart is indeed a more healthy heart.”
What is an attitude of gratitude? It “involves noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life.” Children will develop their own positive attitude from watching and listening to those around them. We can give kids the words to use by saying things like, “I bet you are thankful you had time to play with a friend today.” Or, “ Wow, that is so good to have a warm, cozy coat on such a cold day.” Kids also need to hear us saying thank you to them. They like to feel their efforts are appreciated and acknowledged. So do we all.
Today, wherever you are and whatever your family is doing, take time to be grateful. Say thank you to others and think about some things you are thankful for. Like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, it’s good for your heart.