Written and submitted by Jennifer Roberts; Howe Sound Women’s Centre Volunteer
Gratitude is an expression of appreciation and thankfulness that can expand your happiness, increase positive feelings, improve relationships, and help us feel that what we have is enough.
When things are not going well, we can reduce negative feelings by focusing on the positive aspects of our lives.
The consistent practice of gratitude, first within our own thoughts, but also expressed verbally with our loved ones, family, friends and strangers, can become a rewarding and contagious habit.
There is no one way to express gratitude and no wrong time to do it!
Here at the Howe Sound Women’s Centre, we have discovered one way to experiment with the power of gratitude. We’ve created a gratitude tree, and found that it sparks wonderful conversation with our visitors and staff alike. It is a beautiful and creative way of realizing and expressing the many gifts we have been given.
This could be a wonderful family project for your kids or loved ones, and a welcome addition to any space – from a care home to a day care. It can be done for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or just as a result of an afternoon out walking a finding a great “tree”.
You will need:
• a “tree” made up of small branches you find outside
• a small pot or vase
• some sand and small rocks to steady the tree
• orange, red, yellow, green construction paper to cut out “leaves”
• a hole punch
• yarn or string to tie the leaves to the tree
• pen or felt to write what you are grateful for on the paper leaves
Once you have found a suitable branch or branches of the correct size, put it into your small pot or vase and fill with 2/3 sand and 1/3 rocks – enough to steady your tree. Cut out a bunch of coloured paper leaves and punch one hole in the end of each leaf. Run a small piece of yarn or string through the hole, so that you will be able to hang the leaves on the tree branches. We recommend making a lot of leaves, various shapes and sizes, so that you can continue to add gratitude leaves each day.
Then, family and friends can choose a leaf, write down something they are grateful for, and then hang it off one of the tree branches.
What a wonderful way to start a tradition of gratitude!!