by Joani Schultz
I love Thanksgiving!
Don’t get me wrong. Christmas and Easter are great. Those celebrations highlight God’s doing. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, gives me, us, our opportunity. It’s our chance to respond to God’s goodness. We get to give some love back to God!
But as usual, God surprises us! He flips things upside down and fills us up faster than a stuffed turkey. The more we’re thankful for God’s goodness, the more God blesses us!
When you put thankful acts into practice, you’ll praise God—and get a boost yourself!
For over 15 years, psychology professor, Robert Emmons, Ph.D., has been studying what happens when people are grateful. So science simply confirms what God’s Word has revealed for thousands of years.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord” (Psalm 92:1).
Practice these four simple “attitudes of gratitude” that work for me. Then see how God blesses you in return.
1. Give God the credit.
Scripture, again and again, says: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1).
Emmons, a gratitude researcher, writes, “Gratitude really goes against the self-serving bias because when we’re grateful, we give credit to other people for our success.”
When we thank God, we look beyond ourselves. And that’s a good thing.
2. Write it down.
Years ago my family started a Thanksgiving journal. Each year after stuffing ourselves with Thanksgiving dinner, we stayed around the table. I’d grab our journal and record each family member’s answer. One by one, we went around the table and simply said what we were thankful for that year. Nearly two decades later I’m treasuring my family’s record of gratitude. Hard stuff. Happy stuff. Serious stuff. Silly stuff. Sacred memories.
That’s a once-a-year tradition, but it can happen every day. Researchers discovered all it took was five minutes a day to jot down what people were thankful for, and those blessing-counters reported feeling 25 percent happier! Wow! (see November 2018 issue of Prevention Magazine)
3. Listen to uplifting music.
I love what music does to my soul as I thank God. Give thanks with this fun new song that honors God. Check it out, along with other smile-bringing music on Lifetree Kids on YouTube!
4. Savor gratitude’s health benefits.
“Making gratitude a daily practice is like taking a vitamin,” says David DeSteno, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Northeastern University, in Prevention magazine… “it’s like taking an actual vitamin, making your body work better.”
Here’s what researchers found:
- Grateful people spent 30 percent more time exercising.
- Thankfulness lessens stress and anxiety.
- Gratitude causes the brain to release feel-good serotonin.
- Gratitude blocks negative emotions like envy and resentment because you can’t feel both thankful and envious at the same time.
- After just two weeks, journal keepers slept better and reported lower blood pressure.
- Thankfulness could result in healthier eating, too. Author of Slim by Design, Brian Wansink, Ph.D. said, “Right before they served themselves a meal, we asked people to think of one positive thing that had happened that day that they were grateful for…Those who did ate 9 percent fewer calories at that meal and chose a healthier mix of foods that included more vegetables and fewer processed carbs,” reported Consumer Reports On Health.
So, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!” (and it’s good for you, too!) “His faithful love endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).