November is here and our minds tend to think of the holiday. “Thanksgiving”. I encourage you at this time of my writing to expand your thinking and let’s make everyday thanksgiving. My favorite poet Helen Steiner Rice says it this way.
“And help us remember
That the Key to Life and Living
Is to make each prayer a Prayer of Thanks
And everyday Thanksgiving.”
The questions are: What does an attitude of gratitude mean? How does one develop an attitude of gratitude?
When you have an attitude of gratitude you are
- Looking for the best in everything that happens to you
- Being grateful for what you have
- Looking for things to be grateful for
In order to develop an attitude of gratitude it takes practice.
I keep a gratitude journal and each day I write about big and little things I am thankful for. When I wake and can see the sun shining through my window, I am thankful for eyes to see. I am thankful I can go to and from the store safely. When I practice being thankful I feel good.
When we have an attitude of gratitude every day it forces us to see the good in whatever happens to us. When my baby was about 6 months old we were walking out the door to go to church and all of a sudden, a gush of milk flew out of her mouth onto me and all over her pretty lace dress. I was thankful this happened before we got to church and that we both had something else to wear. My attitude of gratitude kicked in and I stayed calm and peaceful.
One day I went out of my door planning to go somewhere. “I had a flat tire”! I said, “thank you God!” I could say that because I could have had that flat tire while driving on the highway in lots of traffic but I didn’t! I was safely at home. I was also thankful I have a husband that took care of the problem. There is always something to be thankful for if it’s nothing more than being thankful to be alive today.
When we model the attitude of gratitude we influence others around us and they learn to be thankful at all times too. When we practice gratitude with our children there are science based benefits. Its’ like a gift you give to your child. Recently scientist begun to study the benefits of gratitude. Vitamin G, as some like to call it. It is reported in the Washington Paren
t magazine that Dr. Robert Emmons the world’s leading expert on gratitude conducted a study on gratitude involving journals and found when people regularly engage in thankfulness experience measurable psychological, physical and interpersonal benefits. This is what he found…
Top 10 Benefits of Gratitude
- Feel better about their lives overall
- Experience higher levels of positive emotions like optimism, enthusiasm, love and happiness
- Are kinder and more generous to others
- Have fewer physical problems including pain
- Exercise more regularly and eat healthier
- Sleep better
- Visit the doctor more regularly for checkups
- Feel less stressed
- Cope with stress more effectively and recover more quickly from stressful situations
- Live longer – on average being thankful adds seven years to your lives
In the Washington Parent magazine Sandi Schwartz explains why saying thank you has so many benefits for us. She says when we count our blessings; we interrupt the cycle of negative and fearful thoughts which allows the stress system in our bodies to recover. Research shows that when we feel gratitude, we love our lives and want to make sure we stick around long enough to enjoy them.
Our creator knows what’s good for us. He knows how important it is to be thankful. In Thessalonians 5:18(NCV) it says “Give thanks in whatever happens.” Colossians 4:2(AMP) gives us this advice: Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving.”
Let’s reframe our minds and embrace the “Attitude of Gratitude!
I’m thankful I have a family and you, my social media friends, to share with.
On the next blog I will share some ways to teach children gratitude. In the meantime get my Thank You God Series: Thank You God for my Body and Thank You God for My Food at Living Well in Silver Spring, MD or on line at Amazon.