Friday, November 11, 2016

A Gratitude Attitude


1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

With the Thanksgiving Holiday right around the corner, it isn't unusual to see many folks in the blogosphere and on Facebook extolling the virtues of living life with an active sense of gratitude.  My Christian blogging friend, Deb Wolf, at Counting My Blessings is devoting the month of November to how being thankful can bring us closer to God.

In a recent post, Deb challenges her readers to keep a gratitude journal, writing down seven things each day for which we are grateful.  I decide right away to take her up on it, and I can't tell you how rewarding this practice has already been for me.

And easy!  But I must admit -  the easy part is because I've been cultivating a Gratitude Attitude in my life for many years.  Not a day goes by when I don't give God thanks for even the littlest of kindnesses and pleasures that make me smile.

However, for some of you, who may be going through some discouraging and disappointing times, a Gratitude Attitude is probably not high on your priority list.  Bogged down by stresses, worries, fears, or _______________ (You fill in the blank.), being thankful in such circumstances seems nigh impossible.

But take heart!  According to a November 2014 article in Forbes by psychologist, Amy Morin, the seven scientific benefits of a thankful attitude are too empowering to ignore.  They are as follows:


  • Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
  • Gratitude improves physical health.
  • Gratitude improves psychological health.
  • Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
  • Grateful people sleep better.
  • Gratitude improves self-esteem.
  • Gratitude increases mental strength.
Who wouldn't want any and all of these?

Are you ready to join Deb and me in beginning to write a daily gratitude journal?  Not sure where to start?  Here's a super list of suggestions Deb gives to get us moving and help us stay motivated:

  1. Who was kind to you today?
  2. What did you enjoy doing today?
  3. Who helped you today?
  4. Who did you help?
  5. What is the best thing that happened today?
  6. What simple thing made today a good day?
  7. What did you learn today?
  8. Who made you smile today?  What did they do?
  9. What did you learn from a bad experience?
  10. How did technology make your life easier?
  11. Who made you feel important today?
  12. Who or what made you happy today?
  13. What was your favorite taste, smell, touch, sight, or sound from the day?
  14. What do you like about your neighborhood?
  15. Who forgave you?  Who did you forgive?
  16. What did you do today you couldn't do yesterday?
  17. Who thanked you today?  How did it make you feel?
  18. Who loves you?  Who do you love?
  19. Where did you see God at work today?
  20. What are you most thankful for today?
Great tips, wouldn't you agree?  Thanks, Deb, for inspiring me and others in nurturing a Gratitude Attitude in our lives.

And may we keep this journal not just in the month of November, but all year round!

Amen!


17 comments:

  1. Ah, the way I start each day:
    Thanks as I stand before You, the Living and Fulfilling Sovereign, who has restored my soul , with great kindness and with fulfilling truth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen, Roy! That's the best way to begin any day.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  2. Martha, Thank you so much for sharing Counting My Blessings with your readers. I'm so thankful for you! Adding you to my gratitude journal today! Many blessings, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad I could share, Deb. Know how thankful I am for you, too!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  3. Such a wonderful way to spend every day, thinking of ways to be thankful...we are so blessed...we should always be ready to give thanks and to praise the ONE who made all these blessings possible...Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! So thankful today for our Veterans and for freedom!!! Amen!!

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    Replies
    1. I'm so thankful, too, Pamela, for our vets and our freedoms we have because of their service to this country. They will definitely be in my gratitude journal today.
      And may we all spend more time each day just giving thanks.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  4. Martha, this a timely post considering all that is going on in the world. Gratitude really does make a difference in the whole of our life. Last year and this year I've used a composition notebook to write down things I'm grateful for each day. Last year I wrote three, this year I've gone to 3 to 5 (sometimes more). Jesus and what He did for us is what I'm most thankful for.

    Love and blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen, Kim! Both that you are continually thanking Jesus and keeping a constant journal of gratitude. It is so healthy for us and keeps us spiritually grounded. How can we not see circumstances, good or bad, better when we are in thankful mode to God?
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  5. Love her list of questions. I practice daily gratitude - well most of the time. How do people live, thrive without this essential practice?

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    Replies
    1. I know, Jean! Deb's list is fantastic. And I, like you, don't know how people live out of a place other than a grateful one.
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  6. Love it. Isn't it amazing that if we simply follow the commands in God's word, there are real benefits?! He's never trying to control us. He simply wants to bless us. Great ideas. Thanks Martha.

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    1. Exactly, Jason! God's blessing us each and every day if we'll stand up and take notice. Some days, I find, there are almost too many to count! And on those rare occasions when I think I have little to be thankful for, God reminds me of His great love for me and for all of us. How can we not be thankful for that?
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
  7. Thanks for reminding me of my gratitude list, which I have neglected lately, not because I wasn't grateful, but just because I forgot to add to the list. I got the idea from Ann Voskamp's 1000 gifts idea. I now am up to #894.

    Meanwhile, I have a little daily calendar that I write in every night before I go to bed with one thing I'm grateful for that day. A nice way to end the day.

    One other gratitude practice--when I was leading 10 Steps (to finding your happy place) discussion groups, I would ask everyone to take out a piece of paper, and for one minute list things they were grateful for. At the end of a minute, everyone was still writing. I asked everyone how they felt when they were writing. As you can guess, they felt good. Then I asked them to pair up and share with each other a few things on their lists. Then I asked them how they felt about that. Everyone felt good not only sharing something they were grateful for, but also hearing what someone else was grateful for.

    A one minute gratitude list is so easy to do. You don't have to write it down. You can just think it. A stoplight is a perfect time. Red light means think of things you are grateful for!

    I love that verse which encourages us to give thanks "in" all circumstances, not "for" all circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that verse, too, Galen!
      Thank you for sharing your gratitude practices with everyone here. That exercise you did with the 10 Steps group is marvelous! Sounds like it would be perfect to do in a Sunday school class or Bible study. Hope some folks will try it out.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. Hi Martha! Great questions here, thank you for sharing them from your blog friend. I am also preparing a thanks post for next week, and if you really think about it, everything holds the grace and gift of God doesn't it? It all waits for me to see and then celebrate.
    Love this!
    Ceil

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Ceil, everything holds God's grace and gifts. Everything!
      I pray that you will be celebrating with your gratitude post. Goodness knows, there is so much for which to be thankful each and every day. Looking forward to reading it!
      Love and blessings!

      Delete
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