I will be honest and say my thankfulness comes a bit more readily this time of the year. It is the season to be thankful, after all. There are daily-post challenges on social media, get-togethers with family, and holiday well wishing to make the season bright. I suppose our minds are more focused on it. But, what would our daily lives look like the other 11 months of the year if we recognized all we have to be thankful for a little more often?
In a recent Harvard Health study, positive psychology research reveals “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships” (“Giving thanks can”, 2017). Wow, that’s reason enough for me!
Now, if I put this into practice what would it look like?
I once heard my Pastor say he had kept a prayer journal and wrote all his concerns, then later, wrote down all the times those prayers were answered. It can become commonplace to forget how present God is in our lives. By writing down the ways we see Him working, we can be reminded and thankful for all He is doing. 1 Chronicles 29:13 (NIV) Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
Appreciate the Little Things
I can be more intentional to notice and appreciate the little things. This could be as simple as writing down 3-5 things each week I am thankful for. When we are intentional to recognize the little things, the bigger things can seem not-so-big after all. It would be really neat to look back this time next year at all the things I was thankful for each week. If I jotted down just three each week, it would add up quickly! Psalm 7:17 (NIV) I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
Verbalize my Gratitude
Telling others how much we appreciate them not only brightens their day, but allows us to recognize how important others are to us. We’re all in this life together, whether we work together, attend class together, or sit next to each other in traffic each day, a little bit of gratitude goes a long way to spreading happiness. Let’s pay it forward! 2 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV) Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier. (2017). Retrieved November 10, 2017, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier