Finding Thanks and Practicing Gratitude with Military Youth and Families

picture of family sitting at a table, and a teen facetiming someone with the happy family behind them
Photo by Nicole Michalou from Pexels

Halloween candy is dwindling down if it wasn’t all gobbled up over the trick-or-treat weekend. The spooky season’s pumpkins have now transitioned into full-on fall decor. Families and friends will soon be connecting and coming together to celebrate and find thankfulness in another year with the quickly approaching holidays.

The holidays also allow many of us to spend time consciously and prioritize the things that matter most. While celebrating with loved ones is first and foremost throughout the holidays, finding relaxation, continuing to practice gratitude, and implementing mindfulness are important.

November is National Veterans and Military Families Month

This month marks National Veterans and Military Families Month. With more than 2.6 million military families across the world, this is a time to be mindful of the special factors impacting military families. Military families face extra obstacles of physical distance with duty away from the family unit and the significant impact on each caregiver and family member. These life circumstances significantly impact how military families spend their holiday season. With PCS’ing, temporary duty, or deployments, many military parents are on an ever-evolving journey of finding balance and figuring out how to parent and support the family in new ways. Oftentimes, in new, independent ways as military members are on assignment.

This community is no stranger to resilience and adaptability, and the holidays often call for modification of long-standing traditions and leaning into opportunities for new family customs. Data shows that practicing mindfulness and gratitude leads to more positive emotions, and a strengthened ability to deal with life stressors. During a season of care and cheer, having a foundational skillset of gratitude and mindfulness helps those navigating not only the holiday celebrations but also the possible stressors of the season.

The Child Mind Institute releases timely research and resources for parents and professionals supporting children and youth. A recent summary report focusing on youth mental health reflects the heightened mental health challenges teens and youth face today. Even with upcoming holiday breaks and time off work and school, families and youth continue to deal with unprecedented life challenges.

Resources for Promoting Youth and Family Mental Wellness

The Child Mind Institute has easily digestible tip sheets and resources for professionals supporting youth and student mental health. Their sheet on Tips for Supporting Students’ Mental Health This Fall lists common challenges, signs of needed support, and best practices for strengthening support.

The Chill Drills app is a resource created by the Department of Defense and Military OneSource to provide guidance on relaxation, conscious breathing, and mindfulness, and overall promoting wellness for a better quality of life. This MFLN blog post further dives into the Chill Drills and all the great features that can be shared with families and youth!

From defining mindfulness to providing a detailed breakdown of the steps to building a routine practice of mindfulness, the Mindful.org website is a great resource for anyone cultivating conscious care of one’s mental wellness.

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance. ” — Eckhart Tolle

Finding Thanks and Practicing Gratitude with Military Families 

As we move into the holidays, having a strong sense of gratitude and thoughtfulness can only strengthen the celebration of the rich spectrum of love across all families this season! The above resources are just a few in an endless supply of support for building and nurturing mental wellness for each member of the family.

This post was written by the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Learn more about us on our FD landing page.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for daily resources and updates! And listen to our Anchored. podcast series on iTunes and via our podcast page.