"This is a wonderful day, I have never seen this one before." - Maya Angelou.

These practices are supported by research and we encourage folks to give them a try. But, we also acknowledge that we all have different backgrounds and experiences. This may make your strategies and practices look different in your family.

An Attitude of Gratitude

Believe it or not, it seems to be easier for all of us to notice negatives instead of positives. This tendency is an actual phenomenon called the negativity bias. The problem is that this tendency can drag us down. We miss seeing all the good things that happen, especially when those good things are just small parts of our day. We aren’t grateful because we haven’t been noticing the things that we could be grateful for.

But here’s the thing – there is tons and tons of research that shows that noticing the positive, feeling grateful and expressing gratitude makes us happier, healthier, and more able to tolerate stress & tough situations. In other words, it increases our well-being!

A cartoon cheese grater says: I am so grateful for family and friends and good food and the people who grow and make good food and kind and compassionate people and cheese!See below for some ideas about how to bring more gratitude and added well-being into your life.

  • Be on the lookout for positives, especially small ones. When you see one, take a few moments to really notice and think (or be mindful) about that positive thing. Chances are the more you do this, the easier it will be to notice even more positive things.
  • Do something helpful or kind for someone else – family or a friend. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Big or small, this is a powerful practice.
  • Make a goal to say thank you five times a day! If someone says or does something you appreciate, tell them or thank them.
  • Let the people in your life know that you appreciate them. This could be for something they have done or said. It could be just letting them know you are grateful that they are in your life!
  • As a family, have everybody take a turn saying something (or a few things) they are grateful for. You could do this during a meal, a car ride, or anytime. These things can be something that happened that day, or something more general.
  • Act the way you want to feel. We think that feelings cause or affect our actions, but did you know that research has proven that our actions can also create or change our feelings? So, when we act grateful (or kind, or happy), we may actually start to feel grateful, kind or happy.
  • When you notice you are feeling negative or starting to complain, pause. Just breathe. Then try to zone into positives from your day. Or share just one concern. Try not to go overboard thinking about or saying every negative thing or complaint you may have.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Find a notebook or even just some post-its, or scrap paper. Every day, spend a few minutes making a list of things you are grateful for. These things can be big or small. You can even repeat the same things on different days, too.

Helpful Resources

For more ideas or information, please refer to:

Remember, practicing gratitude is not a “one and done.” Try to make these practices a routine part of your life.

Video of the Month

Random Acts of Kindness

Celebrate World Kindness Day on November 13 by trying one of these 12 ideas from the Kind Blog.

Community Events

Woolwich Counselling

Lunch & Learns for Caregivers with WRDSB Psychology Department

Wednesdays from 12:15 to 12:45 pm

November 3: Supporting Your Anxious Child
November 10: Parenting Your Child with ADHD
November 17: Connecting With Your Kids: Validation
November 24: Living With Teenagers

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For more information about this newsletter contact Mary Murphy at 519-570-0003, ext. 4172.