Gratefulness means being thankful. It requires reflection and stillness, two things that can be difficult in our busy, overstimulated everyday lives. It means to become still and reflect on what I have received. Acknowledging who is in control.
I recently did a short devotion for GLN Next Gen and found a few fascinating facts.
Some of the Bible verses most well-known focused on gratitude are:
- giving thanks for all things, in all circumstances (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18),
- being thankful even in suffering (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:1-4),
- and to do everything in the name of Jesus out of a spirit of gratefulness (Colossians 3:17).
Therefore: Gratitude is a decision
It is being thankful no matter what. In all circumstances: having much or little, suffering or rejoicing.
A spirit of gratefulness is something we can ask for and develop, knowing that nothing we do is because we are entitled to it but because we know everything is a gift from God. Again, acknowledging who is in control.
The effects of gratitude can be important for our overall well-being for several reasons:
- Improved mental health. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, gratitude might be the last thing on your mind. However, as it turns out, gratitude could be a key component of helping with your mental health. One study showed that participants who wrote gratitude letters regularly displayed significantly better mental health than those who didn’t. In fact, brain scans suggested that gratitude might even have the power to rewire our brains for the better.
- Improved physical health. Better sleep and immunity? Yes please! Fortunately, neither require a visit to the doctor’s office or a new prescription. Gratitude has been shown to help with both, and may even be linked to reduced pain and improved cardiovascular health as well.
- Stronger social bonds. It’s no secret that people like to feel appreciated. Gratitude kept to yourself can have tremendous benefits. But expressing your gratitude makes it real to you and benefits the recipient. It is also tied to your physical and mental well-being. And importantly, expressing your gratitude often build connections and improve your relationships.
- Resilience. Gratitude has the effect of helping us to refocus on positive emotions. It guides us to take an optimistic, solution-oriented approach to the challenges that we encounter in life. Both of which are hugely important to building resilience. Resilience, in turn, improves our overall quality of life by enabling us to bounce back from the hardships we face.
So being and choosing gratefulness is not just an encouragement from the Bible so that God is being praised in all things but it has a direct effect on our well-being.
What are you grateful for in 2023?
I like to write little notes through the year and keep them in my thankful jar. In a couple of weeks I will reread them and remember God´s goodness and faithfulness. I so quickly forget so it is good to write it down, keep track of it and give thanks to God!
Gratitude indeed is when the soul sings thank you!