In psychology, gratitude is a way of acknowledging the good things in life. Emmons & McCullough (2004), defined gratitude as a positive emotional response that we perceive on giving or receiving a benefit from someone. Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties.
Science tells us gratitude and resilience are connected. Researchers have demonstrated a strong association between gratitude, resilience, and happiness. One study found that participants who used a gratitude journal and reported feelings of gratitude, were happier and emotionally stronger than others. Social support, gratitude and resilience are linked with being more satisfied with life and fewer symptoms of depression
Here are some of the recognized benefits that gratitude and resilience can provide for your child:
- Enhances positivity. Being grateful helps us to notice the positive things in life.
- Promotes optimism. Focusing on what is good in life builds a pattern of optimistic thinking, reducing pessimistic thoughts.
- mindfulness. Staying grounded, accepting difficulties, and not judging helps your child remain present in the moment which is needed for emotional stability.
- Improves self-worth. Gratitude toward family and friends builds a social support networks and reminds your child they are loved.
There are many ways to add a practice of gratitude to your child’s day.
- Gratitude journal. Have your child write or draw things they appreciate is a simple way to add a few minutes of gratitude to each day. It doesn’t need to be a formal gratitude journal, your child can express gratitude in a planner or calendar, a plain notebook or even a scrapbook can be transformed into a gratitude journal.
- Positive affirmation. Another way to express gratitude is to add positive affirmations to your child’s day. This can be done virtually anywhere. While getting ready for school, your child can look in the mirror and say 3 things they like about themselves.
Science tells us gratitude can enhance resilience, well-being and happiness. Gratitude is simple and doesn’t cost anything, making it an easy social and emotional tool to add to your child’s day. Want to learn more ways to practice gratitude? Sign-up for one of our aerial yoga class session!
Bono, G., Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2004). Gratitude in Practice and the Practice of Gratitude. In P. A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.), Positive psychology in practice (pp. 464–481). John Wiley & Sons, Inc..
Emmons, R. A. (2004). The Psychology of Gratitude: An Introduction. In R. A. Emmons & M. E. McCullough (Eds.), The psychology of gratitude (pp. 3–16). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150100.003.0001
McCullough, M. E., & Witvliet, C. V. (2002). The psychology of forgiveness. In C. R. Snyder & S. J. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 446–458). Oxford University Press.
McCanlies EC, Gu JK, Andrew ME, Violanti JM. The effect of social support, gratitude, resilience and satisfaction with life on depressive symptoms among police officers following Hurricane Katrina. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2018 Feb;64(1):63-72. doi: 10.1177/0020764017746197. PMID: 29334848; PMCID: PMC6380889.