At the end of a particularly tough day it’s easy to wallow in the weary or worry. One of the practices I have to break out of a gloomy funk is gratitude. There are dozens of passages in Scripture that connect “giving thanks” to worship and spiritual resilience. John Wesley a Christian revivalist of the 1700’s emphasized the “optimism of grace” and devoted one day a week to offering prayers of gratitude.
The Bible and science agree a grateful disposition improves overall wellbeing. Research verifies grateful people experience better sleep quality, immunity and relationship enjoyment. One study saw levels of frustration, regret and resentment decrease when appreciative thinking increased. People of faith seem to have an advantage acknowledging the goodness in their lives by embracing the source of it in a higher power. David Cregg a researcher at Ohio State University finds “a great deal of evidence that individuals who are higher in the trait of gratitude have flourishing lives.” For the non-religious, rituals such as daily gratitude journaling can help improve one’s outlook and emotional resilience.
When you find yourself stuck with discouraged thoughts and feelings try expressing gratitude in a thanksgiving journal or prayer. “Let us educate our hearts and lips to speak the praise of God for His matchless love. Let us educate our souls to be hopeful and to abide in the light shining from the cross of Calvary. Let the fresh blessings of each new day awaken praise in our hearts for even the smallest tokens of His loving care. When you open your eyes in the morning, thank God that He has kept you through the night. Thank Him for His peace in your heart. Morning, noon, and night, let gratitude as a sweet perfume ascend to heaven” (Ministry of Healing, p253).