A Dose of Gratitude
Gratitude can be good for you! That's right, grateful people are healthier, happier and even nicer, according to a recent study.
The study divided college students and older adults into two mixed groups. In one group, the people were encouraged to jot down things they were grateful for. Others were asked to keep a diary where they could express thanks for stuff that had gone well. The grateful group also included people with incurable diseases. As for those in the other group, they were told to forget about thanksgiving; they were to keep track of hassles and annoyances.
At the end of the study, those in the grateful group—including the people with incurable illnesses—felt better and were more optimistic than the grouchy group. The grateful group also turned out nicer! It seems that people who made it a point to "count their blessings" showed greater kindness to others.
Of course, this research doesn't tell us anything new. Centuries ago, the Apostle Paul had this to say about the life-changing power of thanksgiving and gratitude:
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).
No doubt about it, a grateful heart is powerful medicine. But it not only makes us feel better, it also helps us worship and get closer to God. Just look at these words from Psalm 100: "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name" (verse 4, NIV).
Want to draw closer to God and develop an attitude of gratitude? Memorize Psalm 100. It's just five short verses, less than a hundred words, yet it could launch you into a whole new adventure of thanksgiving. Put it into your heart and mind today. Repeat it to a friend. Offer it as a silent prayer before each meal every day for the next week. Say it aloud as you're walking or driving alone. Let the Lord bury it deep in your heart. Doing so really could help you take your eyes off your problems and turn your gripes into praise.
Think About It:
- Who will you ask to join you in memorizing Psalm 100?
- What three characteristics of God from Psalm 100 encourage you?
- Instead of worrying today, ask God to help you look for things you're thankful for.
This devotion was adapted from a writing that appears in the fall edition of Soul Journey, a daily devotional guide published by our friends at RBC Ministries.