Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever. –Psalm 136:1
Are phrases like “count your blessings” just pie-in-the-sky mumbo-jumbo, or can an “attitude of gratitude” truly improve our lives? A recent Epoch Times’ article, “The Healing Power of Gratitude” by Gregory Jantz, Ph.D., outlines several specific benefits.
(1) Gratitude is something we can control. Unlike so much in life, like inflation, the economy, politics, job cuts at work, what others say or do, etc., we can make the choice daily to be grateful.
(2) Thankfulness bring along other positive emotions. A mindset of gratitude usually brings along hope, contentment, courage, cheerfulness, patience, positivity, etc. Also, gratitude helps drive out negativity. It’s impossible to “count your blessings” while at the same time holding on to anger, spite, fear and jealousy.
(3) Gratitude shifts our focus from the negative to the positive. Choosing to be thankful helps us focus on what we do have, and what is going right in our lives, instead of what we don’t have and what is going wrong.
(4) Gratitude expands. Have you ever had a bad day where, as you dwell on your problems, it seemed your troubles multiplied? The good news is, the opposite is also true. The more you focus on your benefits, the more you will see. Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “The more you thank God for the things you have, the more things you’ll have to thank God for.”
(5) Gratitude can boost your mental state. Especially since Covid and the lockdowns, many have been concerned about poor mental health. Researcher Alex Kolb examined links between gratitude and mental health and concluded: “Feelings of gratitude directly activated brain regions associated with the neurotrasmitter dopamine [a ‘feel-good’ chemical]…. Gratitude can have such a powerful impact on your life because it engages your brain in a virtuous cycle…. And the dopamine reinforces that as well. So once you start seeing things to be grateful for, your brain starts looking for more things to be grateful for. That’s how the virtuous cycle gets created.”
Researchers at Harvard University concluded: “In positive psychology research, 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.”
So, modern science and research proves what the Bible has been claiming for some 3,000 years: Give thanks to the Lord!