…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
Grateful, thankful, blessed … words that are often seen together on home décor items and t-shirts. But what does it all mean? How do we live this out?
What is gratitude?
Where thankfulness is an emotion, gratitude is an attitude of appreciation under any circumstances – more than just being thankful. It’s being appreciative of daily life even when nothing exciting happens. It changes our perspective and “flips the script.”
Having a consistent attitude of gratitude isn’t tied to a specific circumstance or situation (James 1:2-4). This attitude is commanded (1 Thessalonians 5:18) to be an ever-present, daily acknowledgment of God’s unconditional love, grace, and mercy – fixing our focus beyond the temporary challenges of this earthly life. Not only is it not our natural tendency, but the circumstances of this life can really tug on our perspective (Romans 8:13). Cultivating this attitude and culture of our life takes intentionality and understanding of necessity.
Benefits of having an attitude of gratitude
Psalm 100:4 provides evidence that Gratitude is POWERFUL! And Harvard agrees!
“Gratitude is powerful because it is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met.” – Harvard University study.
Positive psychology research shows gratitude helps people:
- feel more positive emotions.
- relish good experiences.
- improve their health.
- deal with adversity.
- build strong relationships.
During a 10-week research study, two groups were asked to write about either 1) things they were grateful for or 2) daily irritations. At the end of the study, those who focused on gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. It turns out, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor than those who focused on aggravations. Talk about the power of positivity!