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Legacy Matters
BlogsPublications | November 20, 2023
3 minute read
Legacy Matters

Incorporating Gratitude Into Your Family’s Life Yields Wellness Benefits

As Thanksgiving approaches, we are faced with reminders to express gratitude for the blessings in our lives – family, friendships, kindnesses bestowed upon us and the means to meet our everyday necessities. This season prompts reflection, encouraging many to contemplate not just what they’re grateful for but also the journey that brought these treasures into their lives.

Many parents try to instill gratitude in their children, likely hoping to assist in their spiritual journey or decrease tendencies toward entitlement. But several studies have shown that building gratitude as way of life may have other benefits which can help all family members, including:

  • Improved overall physical health, including better sleep, a stronger immune system and lower blood pressure.
  • Improved mental and emotional well-being which stems from feeling more positive about their lives and experiencing more positive emotions (thereby reducing negative emotions, anxiety, stress and the risk of substance abuse while improving one’s ability to cope with depression).
  • Improved academic achievement and school relationships.
  • Improved workplace productivity, including greater job fulfillment, more thoughtful interactions and decision-making, and improved relationships stemming from more active listening and providing positive feedback.
  • Improved energy levels and motivation and a higher willingness to exercise.
  • Enhanced ability to deal with adversity and issues within the family.
  • Enhanced ability to build strong family and other relationships and develop a wider social network.

Clearly, practicing gratitude beyond once a year is important for our mental, physical and social wellbeing, but how can we start adding more gratitude to our lives? Some people find that writing in a gratitude journal daily or weekly helps foster feelings of gratitude and may positively transform their lives. Others grow by sharing their feelings of gratitude with people they know or by taking pictures of people and things that inspire their feelings of gratitude. Some individuals prefer to start or end each day with a quick listing of five things for which they are grateful. Others intentionally pause to say thank you, offer a compliment or perform other acts of kindness or thoughtfulness during each day. Each person can find an activity that is meaningful to them.

If your goal for this Thanksgiving and holiday season is to build gratitude by helping your family recognize all that you have to be grateful for, consider engaging in an activity that allows family members to highlight these blessings. Plenty of creative options can be found on the internet. For families with older children, consider a gratitude challenge (see our previous post, Developing Gratitude in Children Can be a Challenge – Literally) or using a whiteboard, chalkboard or sticky notes on a wall for the family to collect things they are grateful for, kindnesses experienced or kindnesses offered each day during this season. For families with younger children, consider making a gratitude tree, gratitude paper chain, gratitude calendar or kindness jar that counts down to a specific day for sharing the collected items. These are just some of the fun ways to engage children in building their gratitude skills.

To fully experience the health and wellness benefits of gratitude in your life, you have to build this trait into a habitual way of thinking, acting and expressing yourself. This may be more natural for some than for others, but the upcoming holiday season provides opportunities for everyone in the family to start or continue to grow their sense of gratitude with a little guidance.

If you are looking for other ways to prepare the next generation to be good stewards of the family’s legacy, don’t hesitate to contact your Warner attorney or contact Sara Nicholson at or at 269.276.8131.