Gratitude – A way of connecting with nature
Nature can be an incredible source of inspiration, connection and grounding in our busy lives. Everywhere we look, nature is there in fact, we ourselves are nature. When we slow down and take time to notice the intricate details in our natural surroundings, we give our minds and bodies the chance to rest and rejuvenate. The art of gratitude is a simple and effective way to help us to slow down and notice more. We hope you can find opportunity for this process in your daily routine, in in your family or workplace and witness firsthand the power of gratitude.
Here are some simple tips for bringing gratitude practices into your life and supporting children to develop a language of gratitude.
1. Find ten things
Build a ritual into your morning routine of finding ten things you are grateful for relating to the previous day or the day ahead. Make them a different ten each day!
2. Around the dinner table
A common family ritual around the dinner table is to provide space for each family member to share something they were grateful for that day. This can often be framed as, ‘What made you smile today?’ and then build in the terminology of gratitude.
3. Visiting family or friends
When you visit a friend or arrive at a family gathering, share your gratitude with these members of your community. It might be gratitude for them, the person who has invited you over, for providing a meal, or for the gift of time.
4. Set the tone
Before starting a discussion with a friend, partner, colleague, set a positive tone for the interaction by beginning with something you are each grateful for!
5. Gratitude walk – what do you notice?
Children, especially young children, can be squirrel-like, often finding small treasures along their journeys and adventures. Be specific about modelling the language of gratitude. ‘Wow, I’m grateful for those intricate leaf patterns I can see in this tree’, ‘Oh can you hear those magpies warbling? I’m so grateful for their song that makes me smile every time I hear them.’
Music is a wonderful way to give gratitude. Maybe you have a family song about thanks and noticing the small things.
Encourage your children (and model this process yourself) to journal each day. The process of physically recording the things we are grateful for helps to create stronger bonds in our minds and hearts
8. A Gratitude Tree
If you have a large plant in your home, or maybe place for a beautiful stick in a pot of sand, use this to display leaves of gratitude. Write things you are grateful for on a leaf and tie it to the branches of the tree as a daily reminder to you and your family. You could even set this tree outside on your letterbox and provide inspiration for your neighbours and community. Invite them as they walk past to add to your tree!
9. A Gratitude Jar
Start a Gratitude Jar – find a beautiful jar or bowl and keep it in a prominent place in your house. Place a small pad and a pen next to it and each day write down what you are grateful for and place it in the jar. At the end of the year open the jar with your family and reflect together on the whole year through the lens of gratitude.
10. Gratitude Boat
If you are at a park with a lake, creek, river or ocean you could make a leaf or bark boat that can carry your message of gratitude on an adventure. Write a gratitude on a leaf and use it as the sail or write on a pebble or gumnut to ride in the boat. Perhaps you could write a thank you message to a part of nature that lives under the water and send out the boat with the task of delivering the message.
Take some time today to reconnect with the world around you, celebrate health and happiness by really noticing the things that bring you joy!