The Importance of Gratitude

by Nancy Schneider, PHEc, M.Sc., C.I.M.

With the beginning of New Year, people often look to make positive changes in their lives; eating healthier, exercising more, learning and growing. Most of us start off with the best of intentions but take on to much at the start. We become overwhelmed and just stop everything. Today, we will focus on growth. Growth will mean many different things to people. It may mean taking courses, meditation, learning about another culture, or just trying to live more authentically.  A simple way to be more authentic and grateful, is to create a blessings, gratitude, or memory container.

Take a jar, container or even a gift box and decorate it to represent you and your family. Plastic containers work well with little ones as there is no fear of breakage. Gift boxes are pre-decorated, so you can start without having to create something. Again, when decorating use what you already have. Paint, markers, stickers, wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons can all be used to make the jar an expression of you and your family.

This container can be filled by you as an individual (everyone has their own) or one container for all family members. So what will you put in the container? Anything that you consider a blessing or are grateful for. So everyday take a moment to write out what happened that you are grateful for. When you first start this, you may find it a bit difficult, so think of the simple things we take for granted. Perhaps you found a close parking spot, or an item that you needed was on sale, maybe it’s just as simple as having clean air to breath or water to drink. Write out your one item and place it into the container.

As the year progresses you will find it easier to think of your blessings e.g. birth of a child, quick recovery from an illness, new job. You may find you will want to add actual items to the container. A photo, card, rock, it is your container so add what you want. If you do this every day throughout the year, you will start to look at your days differently. You will also start conversations with your family you might never had had otherwise. At the end of the year open the container and you will have review of all the wonderful things that have happened that year. You can use this information to guide you and set goals for the next year.

Recognizing what you are grateful for will bring more gratitude and positive into your life which you and your family can only benefit from.

Nancy is a Professional Home Economist and has held management, administrative, and instructional appointments with the University of Manitoba. Her educational background includes child development, communication, human resources, and management.  She has experience working with pre-schoolers and their families, university students, as well as adult learners.