Article by Jamie Rhiannon Fehribach, MSc., Social Media Coordinator
Gratitude. It’s something we’re always encouraging kids to think about (“Say ‘thank you!’”), but maybe are not always so good at really practicing it ourselves. Gratitude is sort of like mindfulness - we know we should be living in the moment, but that’s not always compatible with a busy, mobile life. Gratitude is actually often related to mindfulness (which might explain why we struggle to keep up with both!). Despite it being something we all have to work on, we can find motivation for the fact that gratitude is very important for maintaining health and well-being. “We already know that mindfulness is related to better mental health,” Annaleena shares. “So, more gratitude is related to greater positive mental health as well.”
Gratitude is important for kids," Kate states. "When a child is struggling to feel gratitude, it can be an indication of something more: If a child is struggling with feeling depressed or anxious, it makes sense that they would not feel particularly fulfilled by being present or mindful. Feeling gratitude while experiencing uncomfortable feelings is quite challenging!”
Because gratitude can play such an important role in mental health - The Expat Kids Club aims to incorporate gratitude-practices into our work with kids and teens.
“With many clients, we practice mindfulness,” Annaleena shares. “We learn to live less in our thoughts about the past or the future and instead engage in the present moment. And when we do this, our clients learn they are far more likely to notice all the things they are grateful for in their lives. With some clients, we incorporate activities, like gratitude journals, into our sessions. We reflect together during these activities and we see how changes in the ways that we practice gratitude influence other factors, like happiness or anxiety.”
And while gratitude is a big theme in our client-work we also try to practice it in our lives outside of sessions, too.
“I actually have a small ritual that I do at the end of long days at the office,” Kate tells. “I take a moment and look around the office. I try to mindfully be thankful for all of the experiences that took place in the room that day. I recognize that I feel grateful for the families that share their lives with us and the inspiration I receive from working with the extraordinary young people who come in.”
From all of us at The Expat Kids Club, thank you to the families who allow us to support them! We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and we look forward to seeing you again in 2020!