In the United States, Mother’s Day is coming up on May 12.
I’m a big fan for using dates as milestones, as prompts for reflection or action. People sometimes complain that Mother’s Day is a Hallmark-driven, consumerist holiday—but I think it’s nice to be reminded to think about my mother, and to remember everything she’s done for me, and to send a token of my appreciation.
Philosophers, religious leaders, and contemporary scientists all agree that gratitude is a key to happiness. Studies show that consistently grateful people are happier and more satisfied with their lives; they even feel more physically healthy and spend more time exercising. Gratitude brings freedom from envy; when you’re grateful for what you have, you’re not consumed with wanting something different or something more. That, in turn, makes it easier to live within your means and also to be generous to others. Gratitude fosters forbearance—it’s harder to feel disappointed, angry, or resentful toward someone when you’re feeling grateful toward him or her.
Mother’s Day is an occasion for gratitude.
I’m very grateful that I have such a wonderful mother! I don’t want to take her for granted, or neglect to show her my appreciation — so I think it’s very helpful to get a nudge at least once a year.
If you want to read about one of my happiest memories of my mother, look here.
If you’d like to hear my story about why I’m lucky to have a mother who’s lucky, you can listen to this two-minute “A Little Happier” here.
We can express gratitude in many ways. Phone call, letter, email, text…or we can give a gift.
If you’re looking for a gift for a mother in your life, read on!
From what I’ve heard, of the things I’ve created, these are the most popular gifts:
This course is something I’ve created fairly recently, but people seem to love to give it as a gift. I think that’s because when you see that someone’s Tendency is a big factor in their lives—and perhaps in ways that they don’t recognize or that are causing conflict or frustration—it seems like a great gift.
In this course, you identify your Tendency—whether you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel—and learn how to use that knowledge to make practical changes to create the life you want. And you also learn how to appreciate other people’s Tendencies, and how to support them effectively, to cut down on stress, burn-out, conflict, frustration, and procrastination.
For people who wouldn’t take the course, there’s also the book The Four Tendencies.
2. The Gift of a Podcast.
Give the gift of a podcast! Go to giftofpodcast.com to download the “gift certificate” and the cheat-sheet of instructions. This makes it easy to give a podcast to someone you know will love it. It’s a gift that’s free; it’s easy; it’s an experience not a thing; and there’s no limit to the great content in the world of podcasts.
This small journal makes it easy to write one sentence every day, which is a manageable, realistic way for a busy mother to keep a journal. What’s surprising is that one sentence is enough to bring back floods of memories, and to capture those little moments we never want to forget.
On book tour, many people show me their journals and ask me to sign the entry for the day—so fun!
I can’t resist mentioning, this book was a #1 New York Times bestseller and stayed on the list for two years. It’s all about (spoiler alert) how to be happier.
And I can’t resist mentioning this book was also a New York Times bestseller. It’s all about happiness through the lens of home which, for most people, is at the very core of a happy life. I love all my books equally, but my sister Elizabeth says that this is her favorite book of everything I’ve written.
If you know a mother who loves to color, here’s a fun book!
7. Personalized, signed bookplate
Speaking of my books, if you’d like to make your gift more special and personalized, sign up here, and I’ll send you a bookplate that’s personalized for the recipient and signed by me. Think how happy you’ll be to cross some gift-giving tasks off your list! Feel free to ask for as many as you like, but U.S. and Canada only—so sorry about that (mailing costs).
I can be a little slow, so to make sure that neither of us has to worry about whether you’ll receive the bookplates by Mother’s Day on May 12, request as soon as possible.
If you’d like to listen to me talk about my mother, you can listen to this two-minute episode of a “A Little Happier”: I’m Lucky to Have a Mother Who Is Lucky.
Do you observe Mother’s Day?
Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier—and the recently released Happier at Home and Better Than Before. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. For more doses of happiness and other happenings, follow Gretchen on Facebook and Twitter.
Image courtesy of 许 婷婷.