Thursday, 8 January 2015

Thankful Thursday - Be Grateful in All Things

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

I started the year feeling unwell - a horrible sore throat that began before Christmas and is still going strong. When I'm ill I find it very easy to sink into feeling sorry for myself, bemoaning my situation and cultivating an attitude of complaint. So, when I discovered that gratitude can actually improve health, I was intrigued. I read about a study where participants were separated into three groups and asked to journal. One group had to write down daily/weekly events they were grateful for; the second group had to write down daily/weekly hassles; the control group wrote down events that had affected them, but without expressing emotions. 

“Those in the gratitude condition reported fewer health complaints and even spent more time exercising than control participants did. The gratitude group participants experienced fewer symptoms of physical illness than those in either of the other two groups. Lastly, people in the gratitude condition spent significantly more time exercising (nearly 1.5 hours more per week) than those in the hassles condition.”

How amazing is that? Just by acknowledging our gratitude we can prevent illness. 
I did a bit more searching and discovered this great list of ways gratitude makes us more successful in life:

Being thankful for our health will make us healthier; gratitude makes us more productive, optimistic, generous. It makes sense though. Gratitude is about positivity, a good mental attitude, acknowledging something out there is looking out for us. But also, if we have a great deal to be thankful for, then we have a great deal to lose and will strive all the harder to protect the good in our lives, and to spread the happiness around. An attitude of complaint and ungratefulness will drag our thoughts and bodies down. If everything is rubbish, out to get me, hopeless, then why would I bother caring for myself or for anyone else? Ingratitude will either pull us into the pits of despair or force us to keep trying to fill the hole in our lives with more and more stuff. Gratitude in everything doesn't require us to have anything more.

The Bible tells us that the end times will be characterised by a number of negative attitudes: "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people." (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV) 

I don't want to be a part of that, and so I've decided to really focus on being grateful this year. I want it to become a habit - something about me that is deeply ingrained and difficult to change. I want to give thanks in all circumstances, because I have so much to be grateful for. Every Thursday I'm going to blog about my Happiness Project. I will spend at least 5 minutes daily thinking about what I am thankful for, but don't worry - I'm not going to list everything every week! I'll try to be a bit more interesting than that...

Why do you want to foster an "attitude of gratitude"?

If you've got something to be thankful for and want to share your post, please add to the linky below:


  1. Hope you get well soon! I started off the year the same too. With a sore throat and it still comes and goes.

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