According to an article in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, gratitude may have the strongest connection to happiness of any of the personality traits studied. In fact, “18.5 percent of individual differences in people’s happiness could be predicted by the amount of gratitude they feel,” asserts Janice Kaplan, author of The Gratitude Diaries. Gratitude also has a positive effect on your health. Researchers have found that feeling gratitude can lower your blood pressure, help with depression, improve sleep, and reduce stress, according to Kaplan. That’s why it’s important for you to approach situations with an attitude of gratitude.
Research on gratitude has shown that by finding the positive aspects of a frustrating experience, people can feel more positive about that experience. We can use “grateful recasting,” a technique where people reframe or recast frustrations as opportunities and show gratitude for the moment, according to Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, and one of the leading experts on gratitude.
As stepmoms, we encounter numerous frustrating situations, from custody battles to challenges with our stepchildren. That’s where grateful recasting comes in–you can shift your perspective by focusing on all that you’re learning through these experiences. You are learning how to navigate difficult relationships, how to communicate, and how to handle tough situations, just to name a few. It is definitely not easy, but it has also demonstrated that you are a stronger person than you probably ever imagined yourself to be!
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Now that you know about the benefits of expressing gratitude, it’s time to get started on incorporating a practice of gratitude in your life. It can be as simple as starting a gratitude journal. (More details HERE.)
Another way you can start practicing gratitude is by coloring and writing on the bookmarks below with your stepfamily. My stepdaughter and I designed this series of bookmarks to serve as a way of expressing gratitude, giving encouragement, and giving compliments to other members of your stepfamily. Set aside some time after dinner to color, write, and share these bookmarks. (Click on the bookmarks to download and print them.) They will serve as a great visual reminder later on!
Feel free to share your stories and pictures in the comments! We would love to see how your bookmarks turn out! If you’d like to join us for a fun family stepfamily event centered around gratitude in the Phoenix area, click HERE.