practicing gratitude

Practicing Gratitude In Every Season

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In this season of thanksgiving and advent, being thankful is at the forefront of our minds. That’s why it’s an opportune time to cultivate the practice of gratitude. We not only see the importance of gratitude in the Bible, but we can also see it in modern cognitive research. In this blog post we’d like to delve into both the Biblical foundations and examples of thanksgiving, as well as some scientific research on practicing gratitude.

What Does the Bible Say About Practicing Gratitude?

 

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. ~Psalm 106:1

A primary source of thanksgiving for the follower of Christ is the kindness and goodness of the Lord. As we meditate on God’s goodness and on the ways he has provided for us, our hearts are directed to the source of all life and can rest in a sense of security and belonging.  

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Phil 4:6-7

In this New Testament example, we see that thanksgiving is critical in times of anxiety and need. And we live in an age where anxiety, stress, and depression seem to impact everyone we know. When we personally feel the constriction of fear, anxiety, or lack, the Bible encourages us to slow down our thought process and take a moment to release our needs to God with gratitude and thanksgiving. In return, we are promised a flood of peace. In our opinion, that’s a pretty good trade!

What Does Modern Cognitive Research Say About Practicing Gratitude?

 

When we look to modern research, we see it playing a supportive role that validates what the Bible has demonstrated to us about gratitude and thanksgiving. Research from the University of California Berkeley discovered four powerful findings connected to practicing gratitude:

  1. Gratitude can unshackle us from toxic emotions.
  2. Gratitude helps, even if you don’t share your thoughts with other people.
  3. The benefits of gratitude accrue over time.
  4. Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain.

 

To read more in-depth information about their findings, see this article. In addition, the University of Harvard Medical School states that, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”  The article goes on to explain how gratitude can be applied to the past (being thankful for elements of our past blessings), the present (not taking our current good fortune for granted), and the future (cultivating an optimistic and hopeful outlook of what is to come).

When we are healthy both mentally and emotionally, practicing gratitude can enhance life and bring greater satisfaction and contentment. If you are struggling with mental health issues, practicing gratitude is an incredible way to supplement Christian counseling. But perhaps you are feeling stuck in a cycle of negative thought patterns and find gratefulness to be out of your reach. We encourage you to consider making an appointment with us at Agave Sozo Inner Healing Prayer Ministries in Gilbert, Arizona. The testimonies of Sozo ministry powerfully display that in just one session you can begin to feel freedom and experience a more abundant life. Contact us today to make an appointment!

 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/21/2018) Pixaby



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