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Being grateful is good for your mental health

Little cafe opens doors to serve a free home-cooked Christmas dinner
Posted at 4:35 PM, Nov 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-20 18:35:25-05

It's not something we're born with but we can all learn to be grateful.

"When we feel grateful, we tend to be in a better mood," said licensed therapist Jody Baumstein. "We're less stressed and happier and we often feel more optimistic and hopeful."

With the stress from the election, economy, pandemic and more, it's especially important to practice gratitude now. Baumstein says the earlier, the better when it comes to learning the concept of gratitude.

She says parents should go back to the basics, teach kids how and when to say thank you, be a role model by being thankful yourself and find ways to help kids appreciate what they have.

"If you have the opportunity to hop in a car and go to a farm or an orchard and show them how things are grown, how things are processed and made, it will help them understand," said Baumstein.

Practicing gratitude can be something as simple as sharing one thing for which you're grateful at dinner, or get something tangible.

"You might choose to have a gratitude jar in your home and have some pieces of paper nearby, some pens and paper, and encouraging everybody at least once a day to write something they're grateful for."

Experts say giving back can also go a long way toward practicing gratitude. You could bring older kids with you to volunteer in the community or let younger kids help you sort toys, food or clothing to donate.