You do not have to wait for November to be grateful.
As many families prepare to go back to school this week, there are many parents looking for ways to stay connected with their children, even amidst busy schedules. One daily practice that works for many families is to share things that they are grateful for whenever they get a chance to gather together for an evening meal. Being intentional about what things are going right, in fact, can help everyone refocus and avoid dwelling on what otherwise might seem like stress and sadness on the worst of days. If you want to practice this routine at dinner you might use some specific guidelines. For instance, ask everyone to list three things they are thankful for. You can even make the stipulation that one has to be about yourself, an example of how did you grow today or realize that you like about yourself; one could be a bout a family member; and one can be a more general gratitude. By alternating who starts and having the rule that there should be no repeats, some of the discussions might get pretty creative, but you might be impressed with how mindful it makes the kiddos.

In a time when the world can seem fun of bad news and our communities can seem to be struggling with a number of unsolvable problems, it is good practice to focus on what is going right in our lives and what things we can be in control of. Whether you are practicing gratitude as a family or you are following a personal process suggested as part of mental wellness and recovery efforts, there are many times in our lives when we have to force ourselves to look at the items, the people, and the situations in our lives that we are thankful for.

Psychiatric Services and Treatment Plans Provide a Path to Recovery for Many People

The world’s, and even the nation’s, problems can be overwhelming. Knowing that you have a plan in place to take a step back and reflect on what is going well, however, can be life changing. Perhaps because of this there are many psychiatric service providers who encourage their patients to keep a gratitude journal. From outpatient mental health services to in house clinical psychiatric services, it is often necessary to focus on the things that the patients themselves can control and to practice being mindful about what we have to be grateful for.

If you find yourself right now in a difficult spot, perhaps now is the time when you need to stop and consider what you are THANKFUL for:

  • The times when family members get to spend vacation times together away from home, perhaps in a beautiful outdoor location, can help everyone regroup and refocus.
  • Having an awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep can even be something to be thankful for. When you realize that chronic sleep issues affect between 10% and 18% of adults in the U.S., a mom or a dad might want to share the successes when they wake up rested and ready for the day.
  • Aunts, uncles, and cousins who live be are often a real comfort for a family who is struggling to keep children on track. Being thankful for the support of an extended family is common.
  • No one wants to face the day without a friendly greeting, so sometimes being thankful for the first smile of the day is a healthy start.
  • Kids love their friends and can find themselves being thankful for those people.
  • Fending a new bloom and flower can brighten anyone’s day.
  • Unusual and lovely spots like a shaded picnic table and a trail through the woods can provide perfect and peaceful settings for many people.
  • Little beauties like a daily sunrises and sunsets are worth taking the time to notice.

Not every family looks forward to the beginning of the school year. For many, this is a time of stress and worry. Finding a way to help your children be thankful may be the first step toward a more successful transition this fall. Be ready to be thankful, even if it is not required by your psychiatric service.

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