What My 3-Year-Old Taught Me About Gratitude
Some of the most important lessons of my life have been taught by our kids.
There are five of them.
Five kids… not five lessons – I’ve lost count of the incredible lessons.
When my sweet daughter Holland was just three years old she taught me an incredible lesson about gratitude.
We lived about 3 miles from her preschool; in morning traffic the commute took about 6 minutes.
As soon as we would get in the car she would begin humming happily as she looked out of the window.
I rarely turned music on because that sweet little girl was creating the music for us.
As we would launch into our short commute, her humming would be interrupted by her observations.
“I’m thankful for all of the cars!” she would say.
I’d answer, “I’m thankful for the safe drivers in the cars.”
She’d begin humming cheerfully again.
“I’m thankful for the trees!” she would say.
I’d answer something along the lines of, “I’m thankful for the shade of the trees!”
Sometimes she’d go one farther and reply, “I’m thankful for the leaves on the tree!”
That precious little person taught me to pay attention to the little bitty things that most of us just zoom past during our busy “go-do-achieve” lives.
When we’d go for a walk, she would literally stop to smell the roses.
Not only that, but she’d then give thanks for the roses, each petal, and the smells she could smell from the roses.
Take a moment here and contemplate this question:
When was the last time you took more than a few seconds to pause and recognize something beautiful or that you appreciate, and then simply appreciate the feeling of gratitude?
If they’re being honest most people would answer that question with something along the lines of “I don’t even remember…”, “I’m not sure if I’ve ever done that…”, or “A really long time ago.”
The reason most people would answer that way is that they’re not being intentional about their mindset.
Mindset is everything.
Gratitude – active, intentional gratitude – helps raise our mindset to a higher level.
When we practice active gratitude there are more than 1,000 chemical changes that happen in our body to reduce stress hormones and increase the hormones that help support better mood control, metabolic function, and the health of our whole bodies.
Whenever I drove Holland to her preschool I was happy.
I was not happy because I’d be without my child for the whole day – I actually could not get enough of the time we had together.
I was happy because of the intentional and daily practice of gratitude that was simply part of our morning routine.
Not a day went by that did not include intentional gratitude thanks to that beautiful little person by my side.
Life was happy for us – despite some trials and challenges: dealing with cancer, the death of my mother, being a single mom (at that time).
Many people asked me how I did it… how did I keep my mindset high (they would use the words “positive attitude”) when I was going through such an exhaustingly difficult time.
I would answer, “I have so much in my life for which I am grateful… it makes the tough things seem smaller.”
For all of our clients, we recommend daily gratitude sessions.
For you, we recommend daily gratitude sessions.
For every single person, we recommend daily gratitude sessions!
There are two 10-minute long guided gratitude sessions that are our gift to you:
- Daily Gratitude: Use this in the morning & at any point throughout your day
- Bedtime Gratitude: Use this in the evening; it reduces volume as you drift off to sleep so your final thoughts of the day are positive
With a more positive mindset through practicing daily gratitude, the good things in your life seem bigger; the not-so-good things seem smaller and are much more easily handled.
Don’t believe us?
As you try it, keep what I call a “bullet journal” – just a small record of each day’s gratitude points – and then revisit those points during any tough moments.
Your past moments of active gratitude will provide a springboard for your mood during any troubles you face.
Share this blog to help others understand gratitude – how to practice active gratitude – and how it will benefit you.
GILD Coaching helps people worldwide increase their success & happiness while lowering their stress & anxiety levels.
If you’re serious about making progress in your life, connect with me to see what our coaching can do for you.