No doubt the world would be a lot happier and healthier if the season for gratefulness wasn’t stuffed into a solitary month of the year, garnished with obligatory thankfulness that’s dressed in the form of a holiday that’s notorious for overeating and family discord.

If we allow it, the impending holiday season can snowball into a stressful, draining mess that dampens our overall mood. Yet folks who have chosen to cultivate an attitude of gratitude not just for a season, but for a lifestyle, thrive during the holidays no matter what goes sideways. 

Psychology Today says this about people who employ gratitude: “Gratitude increases mental strength. For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Recognizing all that you have to be thankful for —even during the worst times—fosters resilience.”

The folks in the above example went through some of the most horrific circumstances, and although they suffered the same tragedies, some chose misery whiles others chose gratitude.  

Harvard Health Publishing reports in their article “Giving thanks can make you happier”: “The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, being grateful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”

God created us to flow in gratefulness. He knew the benefits it would provide for us; mind, body and soul. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

This week’s practice:

• Keep a gratefulness journal where you record at least three things you’re grateful for daily. 

• Or create a gratefulness jar that you gradually stuff with strips of paper. You could use different colors pens and paper to make the jar decorative.  

• Or create a gratefulness board where you place pictures, tickets and anything else that will help you stay in a state of gratefulness. 

Which ever gratefulness aide you chose, visit it often so you can train your brain in the art of thankfulness. 

Remember, you are a powerful child of God and everything you need to rise out of the ashes of the past lives on the inside of you. I’m truly blessed by your notes of encouragement, questions and prayer requests. Keep those coming.  

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