One of my favourite activities is sport and I get social, physical and mental benefit from sport. There was a time where I required knee surgery and couldn’t play sport and I missed what that provided me. After a knee reconstruction I am able to participate again and now I thank God (literally) each time I head out from my home for a jog or when I step onto the Touch Football field. As I jog I regularly “gratitoodle”…I just allow my mind to wander through things for which I am thankful such as: my body allows me to do things, the sunrise is beautiful, I’m safe jogging the streets, my family are healthy and able and generally doing well, there are lots of choices available to me each day, Australia is beautiful, etc. I don’t mind if you call it meditation or prayer, but I know it’s good for me, because it is humbling to remember that all of the good I have comes from God and there is lots of good.
If doodling is just allowing myself to draw and seeing what the result is at the end, can “gratitoodling” be a random thought bubble of things for which I am thankful?
A quick internet search will bring up many responses for the ‘benefits of gratitude’ that are science and research based and you can choose links that range from 6 to 31 benefits which can be categorised into emotional, social, personality, career and health factors. The positive benefits of gratitude include – increased happiness, better sleep, less fatigue, less depression, increased confidence, fewer aches and pains, reduced aggression, opportunities for more relationships, improved resilience, the list goes on…
If you’d like to develop this attitude in your children or if counting your blessings isn’t practical enough here are some habits you may wish to develop:
· Writing thank you letters
· Keeping a gratitude journal
· Prayers – only of thankfulness
For years I misunderstood the expression “this is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it” and wondering if it was a Sunday/church thing rather than understanding that the original writer of the song (it’s from Psalm 118) is writing about all of God’s faithfulness in being present all of the time and helping us to thrive. In fact, it’s a reflection on how God was with people when they felt distressed, afraid, let down by people and leaders and about to lose their freedom – probably feelings we are all dealing with in some form.
God has always been and always will be faithful and if we take some time to do some “gratitoodling” then we’ll get lots of benefits but also a shifted perception that puts God in His place and us and our concerns in our place.