Focus on ME Example #2

Gratitude Heals

Gratitude Exercise:

Do you have lofty mindfulness goals that go out the window whenever your child repeats a difficult behavior or when you're just too worn out to give another ounce of attention?

Me too! And this gratitude exercise really helps me. Give it a try!

Next time your child is pushing your buttons or if you’re teetering on the edge of sanity, use the power of gratitude to help your heart heal so you can stick with your plans for a positive response.

Here's how it works:

  1. Before you say or do anything to handle a typical tough situation, pause long enough to validate your heavy heart AND think of something--anything!--to still feel grateful for. If this takes a while, tell your child to hang on while you take a few meditation breaths. See gratitude examples below.

  2. Pause for another second to notice how your heart immediately starts pumping oxytocin throughout your body in response to your sincere gratitude. Bask in the warmth!

  3. THEN turn back to the situation and decide which mindful way to take it.

That's it!

It's common for this to feel tricky at first. I recommend practicing gratitude meditation privately if you're struggling. This way your body is more familiar with the process and can handle on-demand public circumstances with greater ease.

Here are a few practical gratitude thoughts I’ve used with the endless screams that happen at my house:

After silently acknowledging, "Wow that scream pierces me!", I think…

This is a difficult moment. I'm grateful my body's alarm system let me know that I need to pay attention right now.

I'm grateful my child is physically developed enough to express big emotions.

I'm glad my child feels safe showing me how challenging this moment feels to them.

I'm glad I'm here. I'm the adult and my child is even more vulnerable than I am.

I'm grateful my child is giving me clues about their triggers. That helps me make more informed parenting choices.

I’m so grateful for’s getting closer!

Start by reflecting on the challenging situations that regularly come up at your house and creating your own validation/gratitude combinations that feel inspiring to you.