3 of the Benefits of Gratitude
Three Benefits of Gratitude
There is one simple thing you can do to increase your contentment with your life and be a happier person. One simple thing, that is it. This one simple thing can help you to be more content with your life, help you to feel more empowered about your decisions, and encourage you to turn to God more often each day. This simple thing is gratitude. Read on to find out just a few of the many benefits of gratitude.
What is gratitude?
Before we dive any further into this topic, we should look at the meaning of gratitude first. What is gratitude? Gratitude is being greatful* for people, things, and events in your life. To have gratitude is to be thankful for what you have, who is in your life, and what will happen in your life in the future. It sounds very simple, doesn’t it?
Why gratitude matters
If gratitude is so simple, why is it important? Gratitude matters because when you are greatful* for something or someone in your life, you acknowledge God in your life.
We know in our hearts that every good thing comes from God. When we show gratitude to God for all we have, we show God we are thankful for His gifts. Even when something (or someone) in our lives is not wonderful, God can use it (or them) to help us grow.
We can show gratitude for everything and everyone in our lives because everything and everyone in our lives can help us to grow in our spiritual life and grow closer to God.
3 Benefits of Gratitude
You have probably heard the statement that forgiving someone helps the one who is forgiving as much as the person that is forgiven. Gratitude is much the same way; the one showing gratitude is changed and the person receiving the gratitude is also happy.
When we express our gratitude, we are acknowledging 1. that there is something to be greatful for and 2. that we are greatful for it. These both can have a powerful effect on us.
1. You will be more content with your life.
When you express gratitude, you are looking at what is going well instead of looking at what is not going well.
What you focus on is so important. When you focus on the roof you have over your head and the food you have to eat, that person who annoyed you at the supermarket is not so annoying after all.
When you focus on saying thank you to God, you recognize more easily the many wonderful gifts and blessings you have. You are more content with your life because you are focusing on the wonderful gifts instead of any complaints.
exercise: Take a few minutes (set a timer for three) and tell God all that you are greatful* for.
2. Gratitude will help you to feel more empowered about your decisions.
When you say thank you to God for His gifts, be sure to say thank you for the things you know He will provide for you in the future. For example, you can thank God for patience to deal with your toddler’s tantrums. Some days you may be unsure if you will have the necessary patience, but you can thank God for it ahead of time because you trust He will help you to have the patience you need.
When you thank God for things that have not yet happened, you feel empowered to do more to make them happen. Thanking God for these kinds of things helps you to understand that God will help you and you recognize the work you need to do yourself. This helps you to feel more empowered about your decisions because you know God is with you.
exercise: Thank God for what you trust He will provide for you.
3. Showing gratitude will encourage you to turn to God more often each day.
When you express gratitude to God each day, you are reminded each day of His goodness. This can help you to keep him on your mind more throughout each day.
During your morning prayers, you may thank God that you woke up this morning, or that you have a washing machine that works so you can wash clothes for your family.
When you get in the habit of thanking God for His blessings, as you continue going about your day, it is easier to thank God for other blessings. For example, that your child had a great nap or that you were able to pay a bill you were unsure you would be able to pay on time. Even the sun shining is a reason to say, “thank you,” to God.
exercise: Plan to say “Thank you” to God three times today. Perhaps associate saying thank you with mealtimes to help you remember; say “Thank you” to God for something specific in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. You may even wish to have everyone say something they are greatful* for when you say grace before dinner.
The importance of gratitude in life
The importance of gratitude in life cannot be underestimated. Showing gratitude to God can change your life by helping you to be more content with your life, help you to feel more empowered about your decisions, and encourage you to turn to God more often each day. Just like the saying goes, “A word of kindness is never wasted.” A word of gratitude to God is never in vain.
Psalm 138: Hymn of a Grateful Heart is a great prayer of gratitude to God.
*Note on my use of greatful instead of grateful: To me, a grate is a grid or part of a cheese grater, not a condition of the heart. Our hearts can be great in love and gratitude; they can inspire us to greatness. I am greatful for the great things God has done for me. Thus, I spell
grateful greatful this way.