Article by Maile Proctor @Happify
From childhood to adulthood, our mothers consistently demonstrate what it means to be truly giving.
To show Mom how much you appreciate her, why not plan something meaningful for Mother’s Day? Treating her to brunch or sending flowers are popular gestures, but year after year, they may start to feel routine and pricey. According to a survey, Mother’s Day shoppers spent approximately $21.4 billion in 2016. When it comes to celebrating Mom, however, it’s not about how much money you spend; it’s about how you make her feel.
Instead of searching for gifts, look for opportunities to show kindness in other ways. Research shows that being kind to others increases our own levels of happiness as well as theirs. So to help you make these special women feel loved and appreciated, here are 5 kind things you can do for your mom (or any mom!) on Mother’s Day—or any day of the year.
When was the last time you sent someone a handwritten letter? Write your mom a letter to tell her how much she means to you. A study from the University of Pennsylvania shows that writing and delivering a gratitude letter doesn’t just give the recipient a mood boost; it can also raise your level of happiness. Moreover, the effect is even more powerful when you deliver it in person and read it aloud to the recipient—in this case, Mom.
Put together an album of some of your mother’s favorite photos. These could be photos from your childhood, photos of Mom with your own kids, or simply some memories you know she’ll enjoy.
If you don’t mind spending a little extra money, arrange for a professional photographer to take a generational shot of the whole family—and share it with your other relatives too!
Is your mom into sewing, yoga, cooking, or painting? Sign up for a class you can take together. Last year, I took my mother to a pottery class on Mother’s Day. We had a blast and lots of laughs, and we got to take our creations home with us. Now, when we look at the bowls we made, we always remember how much fun we had that day.
No matter what your mom is into, you can find a local class or lesson that she’ll enjoy.
Do you have an athletic, active mom? Why not suggest a local 5K or go for a hike? You can find a Mother’s Day race or a fun run, or go hiking at a national park or on nearby trails.
If your mom isn’t the competitive type, she still may enjoy a hike outside. Plan a slower-paced hike and use the time on the trails to savor the sights and smells, or take in the sunset. Yale researchers recently found that when people pay attention to the same pleasant thing, whether it’s a song, a dessert, or a scenic view, the experience is much more pleasurable. In other words, we get more joy out of experiences when they’re shared than when we experience them alone.
When you don’t all live in the same house, it can be challenging to find time to get together as a family. Plan a day to meet up and celebrate Mom. You could go to a local park, spend time at the beach, barbecue in the backyard, or bring some games and have an afternoon or evening of old-fashioned fun. It may not be the usual Mother’s Day activity, but she’ll love having the whole family together for a day of fun and laughter.