Lately, I’ve been feeling like a complainer and I don’t like it! It’s so easy to start complaining about the things that aren’t going right and missing the joy of life. I understand life isn’t always “easy,” but I don’t want to miss moments of beauty and joy because I’m wallowing in my own self-pity. Can you relate?
As we enter fall I’m reminded of Thanksgiving and gratitude. This year I want to be more intentional about practicing thankfulness. Well, if I’m being honest, I could use this ALL YEAR LONG!
I knew gratitude was important, but wow did you know this can impact your overall health? Keep reading to find 3 reasons why we should practice thankfulness for our spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
Practicing Thankfulness For Your Emotional & Spiritual Wellbeing
GIVE YOUR MOOD A BOOST:
Research has shown us that easy intentional changes in our thoughts and behaviors can cause our happiness to increase. In my opinion, one of the easiest ways to give your mood a boost is to practice meaningful thankfulness.
Practical Ways to Implement: Keeping a gratitude journal next your bed. When you wake up each morning write down 3 things each day you are thankful for today. Another option is to create a blessings jar.
Have you ever seen those studies about plants and the power of words? The plants that are spoken to negatively often rot, die and decay while the plants given praise blossom! I believe this same concept can be applied to our emotional wellbeing.
Steps to Change: When we speak life and say thankful words out loud we are encouraging ourselves therefore increasing our happiness. We are speaking life into the atmosphere.
Even more interesting a 2008 study concluded that gratitude is uniquely important to psychological well-being. Gratitude can explain more about our well-being than the 30 common personality traits!
INCREASE YOUR PEACE:
This summer I did Priscilla Shirer’s Armor of God Bible study and it was eye opening. One of the biggest take aways for me was the chapter on the shoes of peace. With two small kids at home I often say I need more peace in the chaotic moments of parenthood! I thought I just needed to tell myself “Have peace. Be calm. You are okay.” But to be honest when I did this I never noticed a big difference in my level of peace. Then I realized I was missing a key point in all of this!
Steps to Change: Peace starts with trust. Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) tells us “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” When we choose to pray instead of worry we are showing God we trust in Him. The same is true with gratitude. By practicing thanksgiving, we are showing God we believe He is faithful and in turn perfect peace is activated within us. I dare you to try it! When you truly practice thankfulness and remember all God has done in your life, His peace will expand around you.
GET A NEW PERSPECTIVE:
Often times my complaints are things called “first world problems.” My son isn’t sleeping; my house is a mess; I wish I had more adult interaction. For the most part my basic emotional and physical needs are taken care of. I have so many things to be grateful for, but these get lost when we focus on the negative and think things like I’ll be happy when…
Practicing thankfulness changes our perspective. It becomes less about us. It stops us from having an entitled perspective. Instead it grounds us. We have it really good in America! I also believe it’s contagious. We can impact others around us by having a thankful attitude.
How Do You Keep A Thankful Heart?
Now I know this isn’t always easy to do. That’s where prayer and support come in. I need to surrender myself and my desires to God daily. Otherwise I won’t be able to do it.
I also find it’s important to have a community around you who can keep you accountable and encourage you when you are having one of those days. How do you keep a thankful heart? Are there certain action steps you take to practice thankfulness? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!