Tis the season of thanksgiving. That means we should all be happy and thankful for everything, right? But what if it doesn’t come so easy? Speaking for myself and myself alone, there are many times when the smallest thing can make me mad and ruin my entire day. I blame it on my mom hormones, but really I know I’m just being an over-dramatic woman.
As women and moms, we have a lot on our plate. I look at other moms and think, “How does she do it? How does she keep it together all the time?”
It can be so tempting to scream on your bad days and think the world owes you. Trust me, I’ve been there. But once you let yourself slip down that slope of negativity, it’s easy to keep going down. We need stairs going up!
#1: Make it a Family Activity
When I was growing up, my parents started a nighttime tradition with us kids. Every night, we would go around the room and we each had to say one good thing we were grateful for that day.
We could say anything. For example, we could be grateful for getting an A on a test, playing with friends, eating ice cream, or even watching our favorite TV show. Thinking back, my parents had a lot of patience with us as we (mainly me) took a long time thinking of the best thing to say.
It was entertaining to share those moments with my family because they made it fun. Sometimes my parents and siblings would make it into a competition to see who had the best experience that day or who did the nicest thing for someone else.
Since getting married, I introduced that nighttime tradition to my husband. We may not do it every night, but whenever I or he is having a bad day, the other will always ask what good happened. It changes our mood immediately!
#2: Get Some Perspective
Normally when I am feeling ungrateful, it’s also mixed with selfishness. I think I deserve more and that everyone should do what I want. That’s when I forget how blessed I am.
Approximately 18% of the world’s population owns a car [source]. Do you have a car? You are richer than 82% of the world! How’s that for perspective?
Recently, my family had the opportunity to visit someone in jail. We are close with this person so we visited several times. Although we knew what to expect, it made us appreciate what we have so much more. At one particular visit, we were telling this person how much we love them, while the next booth over had a screaming mom cussing out her daughter and telling her why she belongs in jail. That woman stormed out of the room, leaving me and Nate feeling very grateful for the relationships we have with Parker as well as our own parents.
You may not have to go to the extreme of jail, but reminding yourself that it could be worse can make all the difference.
#3: Do an Act of Service
There is something therapeutic about taking care of someone else. I may not like cooking, but I love knowing that I am feeding my family.
Likewise, it’s amazing for me to watch how Parker grows. When he does something that he knows is good, like throwing garbage in the garbage can for instance, he looks up at us, smiles, and claps for himself. Do we ever do that as adults? As moms?
As much as we want others to reach out to us, we need to reach out too.
It can be something small such as assisting a senior citizen with groceries or it can be bigger. I was living in New York when Hurricane Sandy hit back in 2012. In the aftermath, I was able to volunteer with the Helping Hands organization and clean up houses on Long Island. Nothing is too small or too big when it comes to service. It all needs to be done!
If you want to serve by volunteering and don’t know where to look, Just Serve is a great resource to use. You can find volunteer opportunities by where you live and what skills/activities interest you. There are many, many places to serve, especially during the holiday season.
Last, but certainly not least, the easiest way to be more thankful is to smile. Everybody loves a good smile! Plus, it makes you look happy, which in turn makes you feel happy. Go ahead, smile right now and tell yourself how beautiful you are.
Scientifically speaking, smiling releases endorphins which stimulates the part of your brain that controls your happiness. Those who don’t smile are often linked with complaining and depression. My dad calls those people “Eeyore.” Did Eeyore smile? No, but Winnie the Pooh did and he was always happy!
To learn more about smiling and being thankful, subscribe to receive my free PDF workbook “How to be a STAR Mom” now! Simply go to the right sidebar and fill in your name and email. The workbook will be in your inbox right away!
I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and spend it with people you love. Do you use any of these ideas yourself? How do you stay thankful throughout the year?