All I want for Christmas is all that I have.
Is it the happy people who are grateful or the grateful people who are happy?
When we are grateful it creates a beautiful feeling of happiness because we are content with what we have. Therefore it’s the grateful people who are happy, so it makes complete sense to opt for an attitude of gratitude.
A study conducted by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, reveals that cultivating gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25 percent. It can also cause individuals to live happier, more satisfied lives and enjoy increased levels of self-esteem, hope, empathy and optimism, and gratitude. What a Christmas gift to be able to give.
To give gratitude is to vibrate appreciation and abundance focusing on what we have, not what we don’t have. Gratitude is not always looking for more, it is being content with what we already have.
Christmas is a time of over indulgence and sometime over indulgence will not create gratitude. Instead it creates a feeling of emptiness, because too much food and drink can make us feel low on energy, sluggish and guilty for over consuming, while too much focusing on material things will not create happiness, because happiness does not come from what we have on the outside instead it comes from within.
If as adults we know the feeling of over indulging can create disharmony why would we then go on and over indulge our children, as parents we worry about getting them the latest toy, phone or computer, but are we considering what they need?, which is often presence, love and time over an expensive gift.
When we are a person who has gratitude and abundance we are already content with what we have and everything else becomes a bonus. That does not mean we have to be grateful for everything, but we can be grateful in every given moment for the opportunity, and even when we are confronted with something that is terribly difficult, we can rise to this occasion and respond to the opportunity that is given to us. It is often in these challenges that beautiful transformation will take place.
Being grateful therefore is not about gifts it is about presence, just being grateful for each moment that is given and finding time just to be still, which is especially important this time of year when busy lives become even busier.
As adults, when we are leading by example with an attitude of gratitude we are helping our children cultivate gratitude. When children recognise that the things they own and the opportunities they have come from someone other than themselves, it helps them develop a healthy understanding of how interdependent and connected we all are and they will be more inclined to treat others with love and genuine respect.
Gratitude helps to take away the feeling of superiority and helps children understand that’s if some one doesn’t have and they do well why not share it? It is so true that it is better to give than receive and being able to help others not only boosts children’s self esteem but helps them be humble in what they have because unfortunately not all children are so lucky.
Fundamentally gratitude does not mean we feel like we have to pay back but it does make us feel abundant the more grateful we are, therefore we have more to share, so this Christmas have an attitude of gratitude.
Stop. Look. Go. We have to stop. We have to get quiet. And we have to build stop signs into our lives. This morning when you’re rushing on the school run take a moment to cuddle your child and tell them how lucky you are to have them, build stop signs like this throughout your day.
There is always some one less fortunate than ourselves that we can help, let’s buy a gift this year and give it to a local appeal or donate money for a bed for the night for a homeless person. Help children understand the exchange and ask them to donate one of their gifts rather than you buying an “extra” one.
Look for a silver lining
Yes Christmas is busy and as parents we are often run ragged but stop and find the silver lining in all eventualities, if there is a big queue so what? this can give you time to reflect and be still, if your children see you finding the positive in all events then they will to.
Don’t over indulge
Because your worth all the sweets & treats enjoy them but don’t make yourself feel bad with over indulgence, the more we can share with others the better. Opting for a sense of control helps children to see us as balanced so they will be less inclined to have the gimme gimme attitude of others.
Help others feel appreciated by giving them compliments....whether it be the person making your Christmas dinner or the bus driver, there is always something nice you can say and children will listen to your words and feel the kindness so they can then share kindness with their peers.
Look for the beauty
If you find that you or your child are having a moment of dissatisfaction, stop and just look up at the sky, find the beauty in the moon that is pulling the tides or look towards a tree to feel grateful for its presence and beauty after all both have a much greater significance than that gift we may not be able to get because it’s sold out.
Imagine how much happier we will all be if we have an attitude of gratitude, let’s have gratitude all year round not just for Christmas.