What fills your heart? Gratitude or gripes?
Is it words of thanks or complaints about lacking of something?
Studies have shown that thankfulness makes us healthier. In one study, one group of participants was asked to write down five things they were grateful for and another group to write down five complaints or hassles from the past week. After ten weeks, those in the gratitude group felt better about their lives and were a full 25% happier than the hassled group.
I find it interesting that the studies point out the importance of giving thanks. Centuries before these discoveries, the Bible has taught a lot about developing a thankful mindset.
5 Ways to Cultivate a Thankfulness Mindset
Be grateful for God’s unchanging character in this ever-changing world.
The psalmists describe God’s character. We can be grateful that the Lord reveals himself to us and desires relationship with us. He is a God of second chances.
“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness.” Psalm 7:17
Be grateful for how God has worked in the past and present—and how he is faithful to keep working out his plan.
Reflect on all the Lord has done in your life and in the lives of those you love.
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” 1 Chronicles 16:8
Learn to look for where God is moving. We can express our gratitude for what God has done, also remembering the small blessings that are easy to take for granted. Share those observations with others so that they may encouraged.
An attitude of thankfulness helps us navigate trials.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Gratitude re-focuses our attention on thanking God for His strength, not on the problem. The verse does not say to give thanks for all circumstances, but in all circumstances. We can thank Him that He will use hard situations for our good. He specializes in redemption.
A grateful heart looks to God with expectancy.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Col 4:2
We keep our eyes open to see how God will provide the answer. It is easy to pray about something and then not look for the answer. Or get impatient and give up. I’ve done both. But God is faithful. We can learn contentment as we wait for the Lord with expectancy.
A thankful mindset brings peace to our hearts.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
A thankful mindset calms worry and crowds out fear and doubt. When I worry I get tied up in knots with anxiety, focusing on the problem. But when I shift my focus to give thanks to God—to look for the blessings around me—I gain peace and have more joy.
In the flurry of activities that fill our lives, pause to give thanks to God.
If you keep doing this, gratitude will become a discipline that improves your perspective.
Have a blessed Thanks-giving as you grow in thanks-living.