Our Daily Gratitude Ritual

Posted by Papa Sez | Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fatherhood Adventures subscribes to these Daily Happiness Tips about counting ones blessings and giving thanks daily.  As mentioned in a previous blog, our family performs a nightly gratitude ritual for almost half a year now.  It has a tremendous effect of boosting positive energy and happiness in our household.

Taking cue form literature on positive psychology, we came up with a ritual that suits our family dynamics and schedule.  We chose after dinnertime because it is when the family is complete, and everybody is relaxed and not in a hurry to go someplace else.  Our two school-aged children enthusiastically and immediately opted in, and in recent weeks, our toddler is also able to contribute to the rounds of thanksgiving as he had been observing all else doing it nightly for months now.

At first my wife and I had to initiate and set examples of what big or little things that happened to us that day that we are grateful for.  To make it fun and not make it into a contest, we take turns in answering the question, “What are you thankful for today?” 

We began with at least one answer each and because there are four (and now five including our tot) in the table, we usually come up with around five things we are thankful for the day.  Later on it became spontaneous that anyone can initiate and more than one answer per turn can be offered.  Our daughter sometimes like to enumerate all (or most) of what she is grateful for the day in one turn as she prepared and thought about them beforehand.

“I am thankful to Mama for preparing this yummy soup…”, “…that we had P.E. (physical education session) and we played outside today”, “…that the computer is fixed”, “…for the great news that an aunt is visiting”, “…for finishing two blogs today”, “…for Mama because she loves me.”

Whether mundane or serendipitous, small or big, fun or serious…it doesn’t matter as long as one recognized it as worthy of thanks.  Sometimes, we had to dig for elaboration from our son to just make sure that he understands what we are doing (and we understood his answer).  

There are often overlaps and repetitions, but these are part of validating and acknowledging each other’s joy in the answers or opinions we gave.  We found another avenue to interact and share our experiences with each other every day.

There had been instances, of course, that certain misdeeds crop up and had to be addressed promptly as part of parent-child dialogue and discipline.  Such instances create some negative vibes, but we just take it as part of the ritual and how our family operates.

There had been false starts and certain nights that we forgot it altogether.  So someone had to persist and be consistent about doing it.  This is particularly critical at the beginning when everyone is still figuring out what it is and why it needs to be done.  When we have guests, we include them to that night’s ritual as well.

Fatherhood Adventures recommends starting a daily gratitude ritual that is apt for your individual circumstances.  Others had done it privately by writing it in a journal (usually five items daily – difficult at first but you’ll get the hang of it eventually).  The advantages of doing it as a family or group are:

  1. it facilitates interaction and is an avenue to know what’s going on in the minds of and/or what happened to each member during the day;
  2. it has an inherent benefit of group support/reinforcement (e.g. to remind, motivate, acknowledge and listen to each other);
  3. group rituals are human inventions that provide structure and enhance cohesion;
  4. it promotes individual happiness; and,
  5. it lifts everyone’s spirits, including those that may have had a not-so-good a day, by hearing that something positive happened to others (especially loved ones) and so the day was not at all catastrophic.

Why not start your own daily gratitude ritual today?  It would surely contribute to positivity and wellness in you.

The DAILY THANK YOU site, a feature of the WANNA BE HAPPY NOW website, is intended to facilitate a form of daily gratitude ritual.  By writing down what you are grateful for, the community of visitors can share in your positive feelings and happiness.  It may even give others some new insights on what fellow visitors who are seeking happiness focus at when one reviews/ remembers what happens in a day…even the tiniest, insignificant of things can be important if these made you smile!
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4 comments
  1. Tim November 22, 2009 at 10:25 PM  

    well written & convincing arguments

  2. Papa Sez November 27, 2009 at 8:57 PM  

    I appreciate your comment Tim. Cheers!

  3. Anonymous December 1, 2009 at 2:55 PM  

    Rituals make it easier to follow and form into habits. V good family ritual!

  4. Papa Sez February 7, 2010 at 3:52 PM  

    Thanks for your comment. Indeed our nightly gratitude ritual has become a habit. We all anticipate it and recently another ritual came out from it- a group hug! This has become our kids' favorite before the group breaks up for the night. Cheers!

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