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Gratitude is a doing word
Maybe you’ve read the title of this blog and thought, ‘No, you’re wrong, Andrea, gratitude is an emotion.’ Bear with me while I try to explain. When I was little, I heard ‘Love is a verb.’ I was taught that love would not merely be felt, but that genuine love would consistently be demonstrated. Love takes action. Similarly, gratitude is more than a sense or feeling of thankfulness. For gratitude to be true, it needs activity or some expression. Gratitude needs practice.
Much has been written about the science and benefits of gratitude in recent years. I don’t just want to rehash that Andrea style, so here is a link to an excellent short article, Six Habits of Highly Grateful People, from The Greater Good Magazine. Their infographic below shows some of the benefits of practicing gratitude:
In recent months, I have been feeling pretty stressed. I have had several life things demanding my time and causing anxiety. I read some advice written in AD 62 by the apostle Paul to Christians in Phillipi, Greece.
Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.
Phil 4 v 8
I decided to help myself with this practice by intentionally noticing and sketching the lovely things in my life. I have been sharing some of these sketches on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AndreaSelley/.
I have been daily practicing gratitude. My stresses have not gone away. We still need to complete our house sale, build an extension, get used to difficult health diagnoses in our family, and settle our twins into new university courses. However, I feel better able. I caught this feeling of more light in my dark days with a painting. I hope you like it.
I invite you to join me in a daily gratitude practice. Sketching may not be your thing. Just jotting down in a little notebook small things each day that you are grateful for will work just as well. Sharing this practice with your partner or a friend could make it even more powerful.
Will you give it a go?