Just about every moment of every day, if we truly look, there is something extraordinary to observe. For example, noticing that your best friend texted you to see how your headache was or the warm dinner your parent made for you? Unfortunately, our teens often get caught up in a world of comparison which can perpetuate feelings of self-doubt, and make it hard for them to find the good in themselves or the world around them. The opposite of gratitude is entitlement. When our teens feel a sense of entitlement it may generate negative feelings such as disappointment or frustration. WHY?
Studies show that making gratitude a part of your daily life helps pave the way to positive emotions and self-compassion. When we start to express gratitude more regularly, self-esteem improves, and anxiety decreases. It also helps foster feelings of accomplishment, joy, love, compassion, enthusiasm, and confidence!
So how do we teach our teens gratitude?
As a Teen Health and Wellness Coach, practicing gratitude is a big component of what I work with my clients on. A great exercise I have my clients participate in is the 365 grateful project (www.365 grateful.com). I have modified it a bit because 365 days is a long time for a teen to commit to something. So instead, we aim for a month and go from there! During that month their job is to take a picture of something they are grateful for every day. We all know teens always have their phones on them so it’s an easy task. They simply snap a quick picture of what they feel grateful for that day and make a short note on what about that picture makes them grateful. This could be a great dinner-time ritual for the entire family. It helps to get everyone looking for and thinking about the positive aspects of their life!
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance”- Eckhart Tolle