This is going to sound awfully un-Christian of me... I struggle with gratitude.
Like, it takes conscious effort or I easily slip into noticing what is lacking and grumble rather than praise. Anyone else?
Long before the scientist showed up to tell us gratitude was good for our hearts, souls, and bodies, God was there! Gratitude is an antidote for a lot of ills and Scripture reminds us of that over and over.
...almost as if we need a constant reminder!
Brain scans, of those who practice gratitude, show lasting positive brain changes that heightens sensitivity to future expressions of gratitude. In other words, gratitude pays itself forward. The very nature of gratitude focuses us outwardly and positively transforms our attitudes and behaviors.
Gratitude is a powerful tool in combating depression and anxiety as it boosts happiness and joy and puts a focus on the positive rather than negative.
Gratitude also has great physical health dividends such as, increased energy, less stress which means better overall health, a better night’s sleep, optimism that boosts the immune system, and longer life.
Gratitude strengthens relationships and helps us give grace to others. Gratitude shifts attention away from resentment, frustration, and envy to making us more trusting and appreciative.
Gratitude is a readiness, a willingness, an eagerness, and an inclination.
It is a positive emotion expressing appreciation for what we have. It enables us to recognize and enjoy the good qualities of something or someone.
This spontaneous emotion pours out of the heart and affirms the good. As Christians, when we believe in the goodness of God, the gratitude for all that comes into our lives is a byproduct.
Gratitude is something that can be cultivated and will require time and conscious effort. When cultivated, it becomes a habit, a go-to. That habit can renovate our minds and rewire our brains to search for the positive rather than the negative.
When negativity rises up in its many forms, that is the moment to stop and think before reacting. It is an opportunity to practice gratitude, an opportunity to grow, an open door for joy to fill us, and an invitation to see from a new perspective.
My challenge to you (and me) is to make gratitude a moment by moment practice in the day to day little bits of life. Practicing gratitude in every moment as the opportunity presents itself.
Are you open to taking the challenge with me?