It is so simple to get lost in rigamarole of every day life, the difficulties, the struggles, the parenting, the battles with children. It is easy to meander through our problems and forget to be grateful for all the things that we do have. The awesome thing about being grateful is that it shifts the way we see things and makes us happier.
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Our breakfasts are a noisy affair. Let’s be honest, at times the screaming is so loud it drives me to despair. My three year old twins are still not “table trained”.
It makes life stressful.
At times it makes life unbearable.
In my quest to be a happy mum and to have a happy family, we have started to remind ourselves how lucky we are.
We remind ourselves on a daily basis.
At breakfast time, I ask “what are you grateful for today?”
I’m grateful for my bowl of porridge.
I’m grateful for my amazing family.
I’m grateful for a good night’s sleep.
Galen scowls into his cereal, not wanting to join in.
I ask him what it would be like without his dressing gown. Cold.
Or without his breakfast. Hungry.
Compare Yourself DownWards
I always think you can compare yourself upwards or downwards. If you compare yourself to people who have more than you, you’ll feel frustrated, jealous and grumpy.
If you compare yourself to people who have less than you, you’ll feel grateful and happy.
There will always be people who have more than you. There will always be people who have less than you. As long as you have enough, you have something to be grateful for.
Being Grateful Makes you Happy
When you are grateful on a regular basis, a physiological change happens. Remembering to be grateful helps to build your prefrontal cortex. (The bit at the front of your brain that is where your personality is.) Being grateful gets you in the habit of using your prefrontal cortex.
You don’t always use your prefrontal cortex. In fact, most people don’t use it enough. It’s where the magic of life happens, as opposed to the mundane survival that other bits of your brain do.
When you are down in the dumps and dissatisfied, your brain is stuck in what my husband calls the “lizard brain”. That bit that gets stuck in a rut, the bit that does everything the same. That bit that can’t break free.
Training yourself to use your prefrontal cortex is like training yourself to jump out of that hole.
So when you are feeling down in the dumps, think of things that you are grateful for.
Research shows that people who are grateful are less likely to be depressed or stressed and more likely to have a better immune system.
Forming a Gratitude Routine.
You want to remember to be grateful frequently. Build it into your daily routine. Ask a breakfast, lunch or dinner. A time when everyone is around.
Train your family to be grateful too.
Don’t always be grateful for the same thing. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing but keep it varied. Think of something that you wouldn’t like to be without.
Today I asked “What are we grateful for today?”
Celeste is grateful for her stones.
Sebastian is grateful for his "dada".
Dante is (as ever) is grateful for the hug and kisses ("as much as you can") that I have just given him.
Galen is grateful for his mummy.
My heart leaps with joy and as surprising as it may seem, my response today was:
I am grateful for my noisy children.
My noisy children are SO SO noisy. My head hurts from the amount of screaming. I remember before I had children, sitting reading a book in the stillness of the house before going to work. The quietness. The calm. The grey.
Those days were different. I might trade a day of that breakfast for a day of today’s breakfast but after that I’d be missing the noise and the hullabaloo.
I would miss my noisy raucous children.
So you see,
I am grateful for my screaming, shouting children.
It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of complaining about what we have.
I am training myself to see it differently, to jump out of the hole. I truly would miss them if they weren’t there.
I truly am grateful for my noisy, shouting, screaming, squawking children.
I have to confess though…
I am also grateful to drop my noisy, rowdy rabble off at school.
Happy You, Happy Family
If you are looking for a book to help you become the happy parent that you want to be, "Happy You, Happy Family" is an awesome read. Easy to read and actionable ideas, you'll be a happier parent the moment you start to read it.