Gratefulness: Empowering the Brain With a Heart of Gratitude


How Practicing Gratefulness Can Translate Into Mindfulness

The holiday season is for creating memories, spending time with family and friends and giving thanks for all the blessings that we have received, those blessings that sometimes we take for granted.

I firmly believe that the season kicked off by Thanksgiving should be a yearlong celebration of gratefulness. Gratitude is free, it doesn’t cost you anything. And an act of Gratitude will have a positive impact on somebody’s life.

Every small interaction with someone is an opportunity to perform a random act of gratefulness.

When we perform an act of gratitude/express gratefulness, our brain releases a neurotransmitter known as dopamine, which plays an important role in reward-motivated behavior. Dopamine can create a feeling good effect, develops thinking skills and promotes positive behavior.

Perhaps we might not notice it, but as moms, I am sure that we practice gratefulness unconsciously.  And by practicing gratefulness daily, you can empower your children’s social-emotional skills; including self-esteem, self-regulation, autonomy, empathy, and compassion. These skills will last a lifetime. You can also create a smart connection between your children’s hearts and their brain by practicing conscious discipline.

Gratefulness: Empowering the Brain With a Heart of Gratitude Marielena Aguilar Contributor Miami Moms Blog

Like you, I am a multi-tasking mom, but one thing that I’ve certainly seen at work in my home and in some classrooms that I have assessed is how practicing gratefulness can translate into mindfulness.

When we express positive feedback, we increase the chance of the desired behavior. Sometimes, in our busy schedules, we limit our conversations by expressing only the word thanks when a child completes a routine. But to promote the child’s positive behavior and to make our feedback meaningful, we need to extend our feedback by expressing why we are thankful. The following list includes some ideas on how you can give your children positive feedback by using conscious discipline. You are going to be impressed on how your children can change their behavior. I assure you, it works!

11 Effective Examples of How to Express Gratefulness by Modeling Conscious Discipline

  1. Thank you very much for helping me set the table. You are such as a big helper.
  2. Thank you very much for eating all your food and for putting your plate in the trash. Now your body is ready to play.
  3. Thank you very much for helping your friends clean the toys up. You have a kind heart.
  4. Thank you very much for using your gentle hands when playing with your sister.
  5. Thank you very much for showing me your happy face. I am so happy because you are happy.
  6. Thank you very much for putting your seatbelt on, safety is a priority. We all want to be safe.
  7. Thank you very much for being yourself. I am so proud of you.
  8. Thank you very much for taking a shower when I asked you only one time. I love you.
  9. Thank you very much for sitting on the chair and for behaving yourself, you are growing so fast.
  10. Thank you very much for your kindness towards your friends. You are a beautiful person. I am a proud mom.
  11. Thank you very much for using your kind manners. I really appreciate it.

We cannot entirely change the world, but we can change a child’s world by supporting their social-emotional needs and by acknowledging their positive behavior. Yes, we may have so many things on our minds. It seems, at times, that we are experiencing the most challenging times; but remember, a daily practice to choose what matters over what doesn’t will make a difference.

Sometimes we focus on the negative behavior, but there is always time to redirect our grateful hearts and convert our gratefulness into mindfulness practices.

No matter how old the child is, conscious discipline begins in the heart, grows in the brain and spreads kindness everywhere.

So, what’s your story?  We would love to read it and hear some of your ideas about how to express gratefulness in the comments. I am sure that you also have effective strategies to reinforce conscious discipline at home.

With love and gratitude,


Previous article2018-2019 Miami Moms Blog Favorite Things Gift Guide
Next articleThe RedBike Studios Experience, a Workout Worth Sharing
Marielena is the founder of Jesmart Children Development, an educational consultative agency that provides free advice to parents, and educators to promote children’s success. She began her career as an Early Childhood educator in Venezuela where she is originally from. After moving to Florida, she opened a Family Child Care Center, later she became an Early Childhood assessor and trainer. As an assessor, she has observed thousands of children and educators across the state of Florida. Marielena’s #1 job is being a mom to Johana whom she had at the young age of 18. Her daughter shares her passion for education and graduated with double majors from American University in D.C., and has started a Master’s program at Harvard University. Marielena completed her Master of Education at Nova Southeastern University. She has a missionary soul, guided by God, that loves to travel, and spend time with her family.