Do you remember last Thanksgiving? I grumbled a lot. We ate then mumbled through our masks. Later that day, I thought of all I had taken for granted over the years and found myself quietly thanking God. My mood shifted from mumbling and grumbling to gratitude.
Thanksgiving causes us to pause and focus on gratitude. Bestselling mental strength author, Amy Morin, wrote, “being thankful throughout the year could have tremendous benefits on your quality of life.” Let’s look at seven benefits to keep the attitude of gratitude going past November.
- A grateful attitude is free and requires little time. A simple “Thank you,” takes but a moment. A prayer of thanks takes a matter of seconds. We can all afford to change our grumbling to gratitude.
- Gratitude reminds us of the giver of every perfect gift. Our God desires to give us good things. Why? Because He loves us. If we pause and take notice, we’ll discover His gifts are everywhere. This weekend I noticed a child’s laughter, wandering deer, a dog’s welcome, a cool breeze on a hot, steamy day, and a glass of ice water after a strenuous day of moving.
- A grateful heart produces joy for you and others. When we are thankful, we want to share with others. As a recipient of others’ thoughtfulness, joy bubbles up in our spirit. I have a friend who loves to cook. If I tell her I don’t need a meal, I steal her joy, and I don’t experience the joy of receiving, which is a form of gratitude.
- Thanksgiving ushers us into God’s presence. The psalmist tells us to enter into His presence by thanking Him. Implement thanksgiving into your prayer life or daily routines to experience intimacy with God. After church service, I’m always in a better mood, but we can experience His presence every day.
- When the brokenness of the world weighs us down, gratitude lifts us. When we seek thanksgiving in our chronic illness, a divorce, or a wayward teenager, our neighbors notice. They might even ask how we stay above the fray. We can then share God’s goodness even during times of great adversity.
- Research shows that a positive attitude results in a healthier body. Morin found that grateful people experience fewer aches and pains, take time to care for themselves, and sleep better. Who doesn’t want that?
- Recalling people and things we are thankful for reduces comparisons. In a social media-driven society, that is good news.
Let’s move into this holiday season, counting our blessings and continuing the habit throughout the year. It’s for our benefit and others.
Sally and her husband enjoy an easy rhythm in the empty nest stage of life. You can read more by her at www.sallycressman.com.