Raising Optimistic Kids!

“Optimism: a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.”
Few people naturally default to optimism and many people are actually annoyed by it. Those who believe everything is “meant to be” or “happens for the best” can certainly drive those crazy who believe only what they can see, hear, touch, taste or smell. Frankly, most people I talk to don’t ever give optimism a thought.

Lucky for you, I think about this stuff all the time! To self-disclose, I was a mildly depressed young adult who didn’t even realize that I was depressed because I never remembered feeling anything different. I entered therapy because it was required in my graduate program and the healthier I got the more I was able to see the contrast. When I would feel depressed again, I had little tolerance for it because now I’d had a taste of feeling good! Being depressed was no longer an option. But I didn’t know how NOT to default to it.
Click here to read some great tips to growing your kids’ and your own optimism muscles!

More gratitude thoughts…

If you pay close attention, there’s so much to be grateful for in each day.  A freshly bathed child smells heavenly! (My daughter just let me smell her after her shower.)  The colors of the leaves in my neighborhood are magnificent! Nature is definitely the most creative painter with color!  Today, I was stuck in the canyon trying to get over the hill to Malibu to visit my dear friend, Heidi.  They were doing so much construction that traffic was literally stopped.  We didn’t move for nearly 20 minutes when I decided to take another route.  It took me more than twice the expected amount of time to arrive at her beautiful home, but I was grateful for the breathtaking views along the way that I never would have seen had I taken the direct road.  I’m not always aware of living in such a beautiful place! Once I arrived at Heidi’s home, I was blessed with the reminders of dear friendship, I was moved by the absolute awe-inspiring beauty of our coastline and as Heidi calls it, the “diamonds in the water” as the sun reflected off of the ocean water.

I feel so grateful, as we inch our way towards Thanksgiving next week, to live in such a beautiful place and to be able to have the opportunities to take time to truly enjoy the view!

I Wish Thanksgiving was a Month-Long!

November has become my favorite month of the year.  The weather is beginning to cool, the leaves are changing color, the breeze is blowing and Thanksgiving is only a matter of days away.  I’ve always thought that Thanksgiving gets a raw deal.  It’s sandwiched between the spooky and sugary days of Halloween and the indulgent, jolly days of Christmas and Hanukkah. 

From my perspective, Thanksgiving is the best holiday of all.  Ok, I love the turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie eating that lasts for days and I love the family time of being with relatives from far and near, but truthfully, those aren’t my favorite parts of Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks; being grateful and expressing it! How cool is that? While we spend a lot of time giving gifts and receiving gifts all year long, how wonderful to have a day that’s just about being thankful for what we already have!  Here are some rituals that I love to do with my family around Thanksgiving!

  • I post gratitude quotes all around my house like decorations
  • I have a plain white tablecloth on the coffee table along with colored Sharpies and everyone who comes for Thankgiving must write the things for which they are thankful with their name and the date. This has turned out to be a very precious ritual as we have lost some dear family members and going back and reading what they wrote in years past is comforting.
  • Use past years’ gratitude tablecloths as this year’s food table cloth.  (Using a plastic cover, of course)  It’s colorful and filled with special meaning for us all!
  • Gratitude is a common topic of discussion this month.  We talk about that for which we are grateful and remember how lucky we really are.  (This is a great practice for any time of year!)

I encourage every family to create their own Thanksgiving rituals! Giving some real time and attention to Thanksgiving communicates to our kids that we believe in its importance.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Wishing you balance,

Bette