Practicing gratitude has many benefits, including improving our sleep, happiness, optimism, and connection to others. It decreases anxiety and stress. Practicing gratitude means taking the time to notice and reflect on the good things in life.
Just take a look at the name of this blog, and you will know that gratitude is something I try to cultivate in my life. In the past, I have kept a gratitude journal. I also use the A.C.T.S. format in my prayer life, which stands for Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication.
A couple months ago, I decided to try a different type of gratitude journal. An art journal! I don’t write in it on a schedule. But when I have a little extra time, I try to draw something that I’m grateful for. I’m going to fill it up with my sketches. I am no artist, but that’s part of why I wanted to do it – to challenge myself. Here are a couple of my better pictures.
This year at school, I have been implementing the Jesse Lewis Choose Love curriculum with my students. The Choose Love curriculum has a four part equation to choosing love: courage + gratitude + forgiveness + compassion in action = choosing love. I’m spending one quarter on each ingredient of the equation. So I have spent the past couple months discussing gratitude with all of my students in grades k-12. I culminated the unit by having each student draw something they are grateful for on a paper square. I then put them together to make a “gratitude quilt” to hang outside my office and remind all of us that we have a lot to be grateful for.
So take a little time today (and hopefully every day) to reflect on the things you are grateful for. This is especially important when things in life are challenging.