Tag Archives: gratitude

Think Happy – Be Happy

Healthy Brain

You have the power to change your brain – one thought at a time!

Did you know you have the power to change your brain?  You, not doctors, have the power to change your thoughts.  There are a lot of things you can’t control in your life, BUT you can control your thoughts.  Even though this sounds simple, sometimes it is hard to change your mindset. Your brain is a muscle and just like the muscles in your arms your brain needs to work out to grow strong, healthy, and happy.  Luckily there are lots of mood-changing workouts for your brain. 

Here are four mood-changing workouts for your brain:

Take Deep Breaths

  • Take 10 deep breaths.  Find a peaceful place in your home or yard and practice taking ten deep slow breaths.  Practice breathing throughout the day when you are happy and calm.  Breathe all the way down to your belly to help your brain feel calm. 

Go for a Walk

  • Walk out your stress and worries.  Just 10 minutes of movement, in nature, can change how you feel.  Relaxed movement reduces stress-hormone production, resulting in a happier, healthier you.

Have an “Attitude of Gratitude”

  • Have an “Attitude of Gratitude.”  Gratitude shifts your mood and helps you to realize how much you have to be thankful for.  Beginning your day with a short gratitude list is a powerful way to promote positive thinking and an overall sense of well-being. 

Meditate Your Way to Happiness

  • Do a short meditation.  Meditation actually changes your brain.  When you meditate your brain makes the brain chemicals that help you feel happy and relaxed. Science tells us that the more you meditate the more brain chemicals your brain makes.  Try making meditation a daily habit, even if it is only for a few minutes every day. 

Focus on the Now

Neuroscience demonstrates you can actually grow happy centers in your brain by feeding them happy thoughts.  When you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, notice the feeling and then do one of the brain workouts above to change it.  You can’t change unpleasant things from the past, but you can choose to change the present by focusing on the good in the here and now.  Want to learn more about how movement, mindfulness, and breathing can change how you feel?  Sign up for our online aerial yoga and mindfulness classes.  If you are in the Kansas City area, hang out with us for 12-weeks this summer in our aerial yoga classes and camps.   

REFERENCES

Sevinc G, Lazar SW. How does mindfulness training improve moral cognition: a theoretical and experimental framework for the study of embodied ethics. Current Opinion in Psychology [Internet]. 2019;28 :268-272. Publisher’s VersionAbstract

Shapero BG, Greenberg J, Mischoulon D, Pedrelli P, Meade K, Lazar SW. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Improves Cognitive Functioning and Flexibility Among Individuals with Elevated Depressive Symptoms. Mindfulness [Internet]. 2018 :1-13. Publisher’s VersionAbstract

Gratitude Journal

This week our camp theme was gratitude. At Camp Gratitude we made mini gratitude journals. When children think of things they are grateful for it activates the calming part of the nervous system. This helps children to feel not only calmer, but happier. With school getting ready to start, now is a perfect time to make the gratitude journal a healthy habit. Every morning, before school, have your child write or draw one thing he is grateful for in a journal or on the bathroom mirror. What a great way for a child to start, not only their day, but their new school year!

Here are a few prompts to get you started. Ask her to write or draw about:

  • A person you appreciate.
  • A place that makes you happy.
  • An item you love (e.g., backpack, waffles, bike).
  • A skill or ability you are awesome at.
  • A person who makes you laugh.
  • Your favorite song.
  • Something that you accomplished that made you feel good.
  • A sport or hobby you enjoy.
  • A pet you love.
  • A teacher who showed you kindness.

Benefits

Learning to be grateful helps children to develop executive function skills, which are higher level cognitive skills needed to self-regulate. Being grateful increases mindfulness and compassion for others. Being grateful can shift your child’s mood and enhance her overall well-being.

What to Say

  • Did you know that practicing being grateful can make you feel happier and healthier?
  • Each morning think of one thing you are grateful for and write or draw it.
  • Notice how you feel.

Check out our mini gratitude journal from Camp Gratitude.

Want to learn more ways to help children be grateful?  Sign up for  Mindful Child Teacher Training or buy my book, Mindfulness for Children.

Daniel, T., Mindfulness for Children. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2018

A Mindfulness Activity to Improve Your Child’s Well-Being

What is Take Flight?

This mindfulness activity requires visualization and a good imagination.  Have your child imagine they are bird in flight.  As he is flying over the earth, ask your child to look down on all the things he is grateful for.  Next, have your child draw a picture of the bird flying over all the wonderful things he has to grateful for in his life. 

What are the benefits?

Visualization coupled with gratitude is a powerful combination to shift a negative mood to a positive mood.  Take flight is relaxing, enhances well-being, and encourages mindful reflection. 

What to Say.

Lay down in a comfortable position such as Corpse or Mummy Pose.  Close your eyes.  Let’s take a couple Elevator Breaths.  Imagine you’re a bird.  Think of what your bird looks like.  In your mind, form a picture of your bird.  Is he a small bird or a majestic eagle?  What color is your bird?  Now imagine that your bird has taken flight and is flying over the earth.  Your bird looks down and sees all the things you are thankful for.  Breathe in and out through your nose.  What does your bird see?  Picture the things that you are grateful for as your bird fly’s high overhead.  Remember to keep breathing in and out through your nose, as you picture your bird flying.  Slowly open your eyes and come to an Easy Seated position.  We are going to draw a picture that shows what your bird saw when he was flying. You can even add your bird flying over ahead.  Ready?  Let’s draw!

Want to learn more ways to help your child be mindful? Sign up for a workshop, yoga teachertraining, or buy my book, Mindfulness for Children.

Daniel, T., (2018). Mindfulness for Children: 150+ Mindfulness Activities for Happier, Healthier, Stress-Free Kids Avon, MA: Adams Media