It’s true, gratitude makes teens happier! How often do you just expect things? Dinner to be made? A paycheck from work ? But how often do you stop to think about how lucky you are? These days, it’s easy to ignore the positive things going on in your world, and to focus on all the negative. Between all the homework, friend drama, sports, family obligations and work, complaining and stressing become an obvious response to all that’s going on. And as your brain continues to focus on the negativity, your stress and anxiety levels rise and in some cases, depression can set in.
But believe it or not, there’s actually one simple way to help shift those thoughts, it’s called Gratitude. In fact, study after study shows that the practice of gratitude promotes happiness. The act of gratitude can actually affect the brain in such positive ways, that it can almost immediately relieve stress and anxiety. So let’s dive right in and find out how to shift those negative thoughts and get happy!
Count Your Blessings
This may sound cliche, but give it a try! Every night before bed, or each morning when you rise, come up with 5 things or people that you are thankful for. Think about not only why they’re special to you, but how do they make you feel. Spend some time really thinking about it, or write them down to help you remember.
Everyday choose one person who you really appreciate, and make a point of doing something kind for them. It could be a text, a meme or even just a compliment. Remember, it doesn’t have to be anything huge, small gestures go a long way and are often returned.
Offer To Help
Think about it, our days can be chaotic. An offer to help reminds people that we’re there for them. And even if they don’t accept the help, just knowing that you’re there is often enough. So choose someone everyday who you can try and help. It could be a family member, a friend or even a stranger. Helping someone doesn’t have to be a huge deal, it can be as simple as holding a door for someone or helping to prepare dinner.
Meditation does wonders to help alleviate stress and create an overall sense of well being. It doesn’t have to be an intense event. It can simply be sitting quietly in your room or laying in bed with some relaxing music. Focus on positive thoughts, or try repeating a sentence (a mantra), like “I am grateful”, or “My family loves me”. Think about any words that make you smile or make you feel complete. Start slowly at 5 minutes, and as you get more comfortable, work your way up to 10 or 20 minutes.
Journaling is a great way to practice gratitude. Try to find a specific Gratitude journal that focuses on answering questions to help promote positivity. When you get to see all the things that you’re grateful for in writing, it reinforces the brain and shifts the negative thoughts to positive ones.
It may seem like a lot of work to get started on this journey, but with a little work, your road to happiness is just around the corner! So the next time you get your paycheck, don’t just act like you expect it. Count your blessings – you have a job, you have money and people respect you enough to have hired you. That’s a lot to be grateful for! So give it a try, and let us know how gratitude helped change the way you think!
Remember, gratitude makes teens happier! So start practicing and enjoy the journey!
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