Last year for Thanksgiving I wrote about showing gratitude to those around you and some practical ways for doing it. I would suggest you read that one if you didn’t last year. This year I am going to write about a different application of gratitude but at the end of the day all forms of gratitude are pointless if unused.
Gratitude is proving that it has extremely positive effects on our emotional and physical wellbeing. Studies are linking a regular practice of gratitude to lower stress levels, better sleep, and even a stronger immune system.* What does it look like to regularly practice gratitude? For me, it is simply starting my day with one to two things that I am thankful for. I write them in my journal as simple as “this morning I am grateful for the heat in my home.” After you have written the obvious things like family, friends, etc. it gets more challenging and you really have to audit your life. I’ve found that I have an endless amount of things to be grateful for it just takes a few minutes for me to realize. Doing this everyday has changed my attitude. The occasional stings of life hurt less when gratitude is on the brain.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you are reading this, you have things to be thankful for. You could be having the worst string of bad luck and I bet if you take a few seconds you’ll find that you have things to be grateful about. For those of you that tend to be the negative noodle in every room, try a practice of gratitude and you may just end up being a positive poodle for the day. Being thankful changes your narrative and your internal dialogue. Instead of focusing on what is going wrong in your life you will find yourself focusing on the things going right.
“Much of our time and energy is spent pursuing things we currently don’t have. Gratitude reverses our priorities to help us appreciate the people and things we do.”**
If you don’t mind I’d like say a quick prayer for us. God, will you grant us a posture of gratitude? I want to be intentional about saying thank you. Thank you for this very moment in time. Lord, I pray that over the next few days we would gain a new appreciation for gratitude and it’s effect in our lives. I pray that you would use this Thanksgiving to change our hearts. Amen.