Science calls it positive psychology; the Bible calls it gratitude or thanksgiving. It is mentioned over 70 times in the Bible. The Greek word for thanksgiving, "eucharisteō", is an act as well as a feeling. We can give or express thanks, gratitude, and appreciation. But it is also as feeling or a state of being. The word of God tells us to give thanks in all things, indicative of gratitude being a lifestyle--not a temporary or fleeting emotion. Gratitude is a gift or tool that God has equipped each of us with to lead prosperous and fulfilled lives.
New scientific research suggests that cultivating a continual attitude of gratitude improves health and well-being, as well as relationships. When we are grateful we tend to be happier and more optimistic. We live life with more enthusiasm and zeal. The inner joy and soul satisfaction exuded by a grateful person can neutralize a toxic, pessimistic atmosphere thereby changing attitudes and environments. Do you remember the movie or book, "Pollyanna". In this sweet tale, young Pollyanna changed the emotional climate of her home, and ultimately her town by her grateful heart. No matter what she encountered or faced, she had an unique way of finding a way to be grateful. Before long she had every adult she encountered playing the "Just Be Glad" game.
The Benefits of Gratitude:
* Protects the body from stress and negativity
* Improves sleep quality
* Improves psychological health
* Improves self-esteem
* Boost immunity
"Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier, or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice."
1. Give verbal as well as written thanks. Convey your sincere appreciation toward someone who has demonstrated kindness.
2. Journal your gratitude
3. Pray, give God thanks, and meditate on your blessings.
Additional sources: Forbes, Huffington Post, WebMD
Consider the following blog post from June 2015:
We can learn a lot about gratitude from the story of the 10 lepers, found in Luke 17. When these ten men, who were banned from the city due to their disease, saw Jesus they cried out to Him for mercy. Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priests, and as they went they were cleansed. Yet, only one of the ten returned to Jesus to thank Him. His act of faith and gratitude, not only cleansed him of leprosy; but he was made whole. It is the Greek word "so-zo" meaning "safe and sound", "free from harm", "healed".
How often do we cry out to God for help or mercy and not say "thank you"? Life is hectic and busy. We are constantly harried, juggling schedules and activities--and a heart of gratitude may not often be in the mix. However, it should be our top priority. The word of God tells us to give thanks about everything (I Thessalonians 5:18). A heart of gratitude brings wholeness and healing. When we move from feeling sense of entitlement to deep appreciation and thankfulness for who God is and all He has done in our lives, we receive freedom, liberty, and unspeakable blessings--just as the one leper did in Luke 17. We know all ten were cleansed, but only one was made whole.
There are countless things to thank God for; and the more we thank Him the less we complain, the less negative thoughts we have, and the more positive we become. For example, thank God that just as you were approaching the long check-out lines, they opened another registered and you were able to bypass the long lines and whiz through check-out. Thank God that your co-worker thought of you and brought you a cup of coffee, that you were running too late to stop and pick up.
Make the spiritual discipline of gratitude a daily, hourly, moment by moment practice in your life. Taking the time to thank God for even the most mundane things will change your outlook and perspective on life. You will begin to feel freer, more joyful, and more invigorated. You will begin to smile more and feel lighter because your heart is grateful.