Did you know that regularly practicing gratitude can make you more joyful?
Some studies suggest that sitting down to think about what we are thankful for may reduce stress, anxiety, and overall dissatisfaction in our lives.
In fact, research suggests that the physical act of writing about feelings of gratefulness may even improve sleep. Think about it: when you meditate on things you are thankful for before bed, anything you might have been worried about for that day is no longer your main focus.
Even if there was no empirical evidence to prove that gratitude is good for us, as Christians, we know it heals our souls because our Heavenly Father calls our hearts to be thankful. Philippians 4:6 (NIV) says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Our anxiety cannot coexist with a heart of gratitude! When we lay all our worries at the feet of Jesus, thanking Him for every good in our lives, we cleanse every bad thing that was weighing us down.
What does practicing gratitude look like for you? If you are not sure where to start, here are three suggestions backed up by research:
1. Write what you are thankful for on sticky notes and post them where you know you will see them.
Visual reminders of things you are grateful for can take your focus off of any anxiety that may have been in the back of your mind all day.
2. Keep a gratitude journal!
Try keeping track of what you are grateful for, noting dates, times, and the situation. It is also a great way to keep track of big life events and milestones!
3. Pray before meals and bedtime.
Cleanse everything that worries you out of your day and experience your most peaceful sleep yet by taking time to pray a prayer of gratitude.
As we get closer to the holidays, go beyond the simple prayer of thanks for the food, family, good friends, and the clothes on your back. These are all great things to give thanks for, but do not limit yourself to being thankful in these times alone.
Make gratitude a regular practice in your life today- you might be surprised by the results!