We know we should teach our kids to appreciate gifts; that's why the thank-you note to Nana always gets mailed promptly. But teaching them a more general attitude of gratitude can be a powerful bliss-booster as well. "The research shows that the relationship between gratitude and happiness is very, very strong," says Jeffrey Froh. In one classic study, participants kept a journal for 10 weeks in which they noted five things they felt grateful for each day (a sunset, a call from a friend, the perfect ice cream cone). The result: they felt 25 percent happier at the study's end.
"Gratitude is about savoring the past, present, and also the future," Froh says. "It's squeezing the juice out of life and extracting all we can." A long while before a big Disney vacation, Froh and his wife, Cara, talked about it regularly with their two kids. They watched videos, looked at brochures, planned each day in advance together. "We were able to savor the anticipation for months." It's a great reminder: look for ways to make the most of the happiness that comes from good things, while they're happening -- and before and after, too.
FamilyFun Facebook fans and staffers reveal the little things that never fail to give their families a boost.
Get your crew thinking thankfully with the Gratitude Journal, where you can note the little (and big) things that make your life better. It also offers inspirational quotes to boost your motivation and mood. $1.99, iOS