Monday, 14 June 2021

T To Your Health

Be Thankful

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

--Melody Beattie

 

Thankfulness is a genuine, spontaneous feeling that arises from deep within us and usually occurs within the context of a relationship. We may feel thankful upon receipt of a longed for gift, or when our doctor successfully treats a devastating injury. We may be overwhelmed with thankfulness to God as we contemplate the gifts He has lavished upon us.

One study found: “...those who regularly attend religious services and engage in religious activities such as prayer, reading religious material are more likely to be grateful. Grateful people are more likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and a commitment to and responsibility to others. Gratefulness also affects materialism. Grateful people place less importance on material goods; they are less likely to judge their own and others’ success in terms of possessions accumulated; they are less envious of wealthy persons and are more likely to share their possessions with others relative to less grateful persons.”[1]

One well-proven technique for developing your thankfulness level is to keep a gratitude journal. Researchers consistently find that this helps people focus on the positive and to think about life differently, especially events involving adversity of various kinds. This may sound simplistic, but many have tried it and found it can be life-changing. A friend we will call Ben describes it this way: “Simply jot down anything you can think of that felt like a blessing to you that day. Perhaps it was some encouraging words someone spoke to you. Or a song that lifted you up. Perhaps the sun shone and that energized you. Perhaps you saw a prayer answered, or felt the lifting of your spirits when you read the Bible. Whatever blesses you, jot it down in just ten words so that you will remember it later. I promise you that if you do this for one week straight that will be enough to change your perspective. Once you begin to look for God’s gifts, his tokens of that generous spirit that loves to bless his beloved children, you will begin to feel loved unconditionally.”[2]

Try it yourself – for a week, or better, for a month, since things become habits when they are practiced for at least a month. Keep a notebook by your bedside, and each night before you go to sleep, write down the things from that particular day for which you are thankful. Little by little, this will become a “habitude” of gratitude.

Adopting a thankful spirit is a significant step toward a healthier life – physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. The Bible admonishes us to be thankful and gives us many examples of characters who exhibited this quality. Depending on which translation you prefer, the word “thanksgiving” occurs about thirty times, and the phrases “give thanks” or “give You [God] thanks” occur more than forty times.[3] Clearly, God values our gratitude, but since it can’t be because it fills up something that is lacking in Him, it must be that our gratitude is good for us. Quite possibly, it is good for us because it takes our eyes off what we think we lack, and forces us to focus on what we’ve been given – life, love, and the freedom to pursue happiness in so many ways.

An attitude of gratitude is transforming and health-enhancing and worth making a place for in our busy lives. Some people disdain this attitude, as in: “Why should I be thankful when I have what I have as a result of my own endeavors?” This view ignores the true source of their aptitudes or intelligence, indeed, even their life itself.

Others approach gratitude conditionally, as in: “I’ll be grateful, if .... or when ....” But this approach ignores the fact that “if” or “when” are in the future and may never happen, while gratitude is in the present, where God lives. Conditional gratitude is not an attitude that appeals to God any more than His conditional love would appeal to us.

Every day is another day to practice gratitude to the One who created and sustains us. But pity the poor atheist who, in that rare thankful moment, has no one to thank.

Gratitude tips:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal for a month, and at the end, write down the changes you’ve experienced as a result. Then decide whether you want to continue.
  2. Make it a practice to write “old fashioned” thank-you notes. Address some of them to God.
  3. Choose to make life better for those around you as you allow your gratitude for what you’ve been given to express itself in generosity to others.
  4. Savor positive outcomes and realize that poor outcomes are often temporary, but that in any case, God is with you and He is for you.
  5. Be a gratitude role model in your world.
  6. Send up gratitude prayers often. “Thank you, Lord” is an example. He will know what you mean.
  7. Regularly acknowledge your dependence on Him for your life and health and every other good thing, including the talents you have or opportunities they may produce, for “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28, NKJV).

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This article is adapted from The A to Z Guide to Healthier Living, by David B. Biebel, DMin; James E. Dill, MD; and Bobbie Dill, RN. Available at: http://www.healthylifepress.com/i/181539/70-ways-to-beat-70.htm,



[1] RA Emmons et al. “Be Thankful – Living With Gratitude.”  http://bethankful.com/articles/emmons2.htm. (accessed 12/29/07).

[2] For more ideas on this, see: Diane Eble. “Abundant Gifts” www.abundant-gifts.com/benefits_of_gratitude.html. (accessed 12/29/07)

[3] Based on: http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn31/beingthankful.htm.

Columnist: Dr. David B. Biebel

DBiebel headshot

 

Dr. Biebel has authored or co-authored twenty books, including one bestseller: If God Is So Good, Why Do I Hurt So Bad? and the Gold Medallion winner, New Light on Depression. His recent releases include Making God Visible and Away in a Manger: The Christmas Story from a Nativity Scene Lamb's Point of View.


His goal is to help people attain and retain optimal physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational health (personal wholeness) so they can love the Lord with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbors as themselves. He founded Healthy Life Press (www.healthylifepress.com) to help new authors with something to contribute in this arena to get their works into print.

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        To Purchase these or any other of Dr. Biebel's titles click HERE

 

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