By Erica Rood, M.A. Ed.
Gratitude is one of the most powerful and positive emotions we can experience. It has the capacity to shift our perspective and influence our responses. Gratitude requires pause, reflection, and expression of thanks. It’s about recognizing and being grateful for all the experiences life brings our way, both good and bad.
Robert Emmons, the world’s leading researcher and writer on gratitude, defines it as “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.”
What would happen if your teenage daughter embraced this mindset?
For adolescence girls, gratitude can be a game-changer because it promotes positive shifts in brain waves that lead to emotional balance. Imagine if your teen, who may typically react to adversity as though it’s the end of the world, saw treasures in challenges and responded with a sense of calm control.
Practicing gratitude enables girls to reframe their challenging experiences and reinterpret stressful situations. Gratitude promotes a broader perspective, which in turn, allows them to see alternatives, take positive action, and move forward.
Other benefits of practicing gratitude:
Positive attitude When girls experience gratitude, they are more likely to act graciously. When they learn to pause and recognize the good in their world, they feel better about themselves and their environment.
Better mood Gratitude helps shift negative emotions into positive energy. People who practice gratitude, are happier, less stressed, and less depressed.
Improved relationships Positive people attract positive relationships because it is easy for them to show compassion, appreciation, and support. Gratitude is a foundation for trust and fulfilling friendships.
How to get started:
Grow a Gratitude Tribe Friends and family can help model and foster a sense of appreciation and gratitude. Make it a daily practice to share a gratitude or appreciation. Talk about the things in your life that you love. Do this as a family and model it in front of your daughter with friends and colleagues. Infuse your language and environment with the positive energy of gratitude.
Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining Sometimes remembering the bad times can amplify the good. When your daughter is lamenting about challenges or upsetting experiences, ask her about the positive outcomes. If she has trouble finding them on her own, point out her strengths that developed or new insights and understandings she may want to consider embracing.
Visual Reminders It’s easy to get swept in the rush of life and forget about a regular gratitude practice. Strategically place quotes or inspiring images that trigger thoughts of gratitude. Check out Studio Penny Lane for creative items designed to inspire gratitude.
Gratitude Games Download my Gratitude Bingo/Gratitude Prompts and use it with the family. For Bingo, fill in each square until one family member earns Bingo. Alternatively, you can cut the squares and put them in a jar or box. Choose one or two gratitude prompts each day to share with one another.
Remember, gratitude is a practice. When cultivated and embraced, it becomes a silver lining on the dark cloud.