I never hiked a single mountain trail until I went away for college. I grew up in the big bustling city of Houston where concrete is king. Once I discovered hiking trails in the mountains, I was hooked. It was absolutely exhilarating to run through the trails in the forest and lose myself in it. Just me, God and nature. I haven’t stopped since. Infact, for my 40th birthday I asked my husband to hike 40 miles with me. I can’t wait for this summer!
Well, a few years ago, I was hiking with my family up and down a winding familiar path. I had one little guy who just couldn’t shake off his bad attitude. We tried to talk him through it and then it got to that point–you moms know what I’m talking about. The ENOUGH point. So I sporadically declared it a gratitude hike. We loved it so much that we’ve done it lots of times since then or maybe I just loved it. Either way we’ve enjoyed it lot’s of times since then.
There’s something beautiful about basking in gratitude as we take all that is around us, the sights and sounds of nature. Learning to retrieve those moments is such a wonderful practice for us all both kids and adults.
Dr. R. A. Emmons details research that shows that people who took time to list the things for which they’re grateful every day for a period of 10 weeks experienced 25% more of a feeling of happiness than a different group that focused on hassles or events.
Gratitude Nature Hike
Sometimes we need prompting other times it just flows. So when we need prompting, I’ll start us off with a theme for our gratitude time so we all take turns and share what we are grateful for following the theme. For example, I’ll start with–I’m thankful for this adventure that we took back in…. and every one follows after sharing what adventure they are thankful for. Then I start another topic, I’m thankful for this person… because… and then the rest follow suit. Here is a bookmark size Gratitue prompt you can print off before you head out on your hike.
You can also do an ABC Gratitude Hike and go through the alphabet and say something your grateful for until you get to Z. so dad starts with A, mom with the letter “B”, child with the letter “C” and so on. Here’s a free printable pdf file you can print off for the ABC’s of Gratitude: Abcs of Gratitude. You can use the whole sheet as is or cut out each strip and hand each person a letter for them to think about during the hike and share.
Hiking is such a wonderful activity to enjoy as a family. I won’t lie and tell you every single hike has been a success because it hasn’t. Sometimes it’s freezing cold, other times we’ve gotten lost and ended up walking through lunch time, but those are what we call “Tuten Adventures”. Nonetheless, those adventures bond us and form silly fun memories even life lessons.
You can even enjoy this after your Thanksgiving meal in your neighborhood, no need to drive miles to get to a trail.