Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Daily Dose of Thanksgiving

I spent some time last week writing my thoughts on gratitude (Thanks Be to God). This week I came across an article by a psychology professor from Rutgers University who wrote about the positive impact gratitude can have on your health. Though not a faith-based article, the suggestions echoed some of the advice I gave to families in last week's post. The author, Maurice Elias, said,

Researchers . . . as well as studies . . . Have found that keeping a daily gratitude journal, showing appreciation when others give you even minor help, and delivering overdue gratitude to someone who helped you a long time ago all have beneficial effects; those expressions of gratitude that directly involve others often move them to be more appreciative of and helpful to the next people they may meet. (Elias, Maurice, Gratitude Builds Character and Health,

No surprise here . . . gratitude is good for you! 

Giving Thanks in Prayer
Many of the biblical psalms are messages of thanksgiving, like Psalm 118 that praises God's goodness and kindness: "Give thanks to The Lord, for He is good, His mercy endures forever." (118:1) At St. Pius V Catholic School, we teach the students to offer thanks as part of their prayers-- not just petitions asking God for His intervention. Our goal is not just to develop "Healthy People" (one of our Schoolwide Learning Expectations) in body, but also in mind and soul. In my own home, our family prayer begins with "Thank you, Jesus" after which we recall even the littlest things with which God has blessed us-- a call from a friend, special time with a grandparent, or a great dinner. 

A daily dose of gratitude in our children's prayer time before bed or when waking up each morning can help them develop the attitude of gratitude necessary not just to by physically and emotionally healthy, but also spiritually healthy and focused on God's will for their lives. 

Photo credit: muffintinmom via photopin cc

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