Why should you express gratitude? The why and the what behind gratitude is what we will be exploring today. I am so excited to dive into this topic as it is near and dear to my heart. I fully believe it should be near and dear to yours as well.
I want to start by saying THANK YOU for being here and reading this message today. We are beyond excited to bring you this new resource. Throughout our blog articles we will explore many topics that help give strength through the storm of cancer. In reality though, no matter where we are in life we will be able to apply many of these concepts. We will hear from guest bloggers and so much more! Let’s jump into it.
We have decided to launch our blog off with the topic of gratitude because of the season we are currently in. If you are reading this live, you know that Thanksgiving is tomorrow and this is a special holiday where society has taught us to express our gratitude. After today’s reading, we hope that you will feel encouraged to express your thankfulness in more days than just Thanksgiving.
Throughout today’s blog we will be exploring the following lessons:
What is gratitude.
Why should we express gratitude.
How do we express gratitude?
What the scripture tells us about gratitude.
How to apply gratitude to our faith.
Let’s first look at the definition of gratitude. According to the Oxford dictionary, Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Let’s let the definition sink in for a moment. Now I want you to ask yourself what gratitude means to you. Just because the dictionary tells us one thing, doesn’t make this response the only correct response.
When I asked some of my family and friends what gratitude means, here are a few of their responses.
“Gratitude means being thankful for what you have and realizing you could very easily not have it and not wanting what other people have but being content.”
“Being thankful, appreciative of someone or something.”
“Kindness comes to mind”
“The feeling of accomplishing something you are proud of.”
“Appreciation and thankfulness for the many blessings I am afforded.”
“Being thankful for something, someone, or a moment in time/your life.”
“It’s about remembering that I need to show kindness, love and appreciation to myself as well as others. I think especially in my job I get so involved in a ton of people's lives and there’s so much pressure to help them so I just forget about myself and the things I need to be happy.”
Now that we have an understanding of what gratitude is, let’s now explore why it is so important.
Expressing gratitude has many benefits. People who take time regularly to express gratitude have been shown to have more positive emotions, feel more at peace with their circumstances, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness which can strengthen relationships, and so much more. If you are anything like me, you are already thinking that this gratitude thing sounds pretty amazing. All of those benefits sound like something I would greatly benefit from in my life. You with me? Although all of this sounds super exciting right now in this moment, we all know that when we are trying to build habits, new ones or even breaking old ones, that is hard work.
This leads me to my third lesson of today’s post. Let’s look at HOW we express gratitude.
It’s important to first point out that you can express gratitude with anything in life. We often think of being thankful for the big things in life. Maybe it’s that promotion at work or the health of a newborn child. In reality though, we can be thankful for anything. It could be a piece of chocolate or even the stillness of a slow morning. The things we can be thankful for are endless.
If expressing gratitude on a regular basis is a new habit for you, start small. Notice the small things on a daily basis that you are thankful for. Notice the regular occurring items and the new ones. If you have a moderate habit of expressing gratitude, don’t be afraid to get real with your gratitude practice. Step outside of the things that may appear to be of obvious thanks and put effort into expressing your gratitude towards the tough things in life too. Finally, if you are an expert in expressing gratitude remember to keep it fun by mixing things up. Switch up your methods to express gratitude. Consider including your gratitude practice into a social setting. You could possibly use social media or a connection with a loved one in a social setting.
You are probably asking yourself, what exactly does a gratitude practice or habit look like?
There are many possibilities for this one! I will give you a few options and I’ll even share what I love to do.
Create and write in a gratitude journal. The amount of time you write in this is up to you and what is sustainable for you because remember, the point to all of this is to make expressing gratitude a practice! You could journal once a day, once a week or even once a month. Start somewhere!
Tell someone you love them and what you appreciate about them.
Step out into nature and notice what you appreciate about the environment around you.
Smile! A simple smile goes a long way.
Include a random act of kindness.
Connect with your relationships. The relationships with your friends and family are similar to a plant in the sense that they need to be watered. You can’t expect someone to always be there for you if you are never there for them. Pour into your relationships and you will feel the reciprocation.
When you think about something negative, immediately think about one positive thing.
Live mindfully without worrying about the future or the past.
See the growth opportunity in your mistakes.
For me, I love to speak my gratitude out loud and when I say out loud that just means, out of my own head. I keep a daily gratitude journal where I express 3 things I am grateful for, what I will remember the next day and I choose a word for the day. I also socialize my gratitude each Sunday on social media by sharing what 3 things I am thankful for that week. These are just a few of my gratitude practices that have helped me tremendously. Comment below what your gratitude practice is or what you are excited to start!
Let’s move onto our 4th point of today’s gratitude post. Let’s take a real look at what the scripture says about gratitude. The honest truth is that I could spend the next 2 hours writing about all the different lessons that point out gratitude in the Bible, it’s that important! I won’t spend the next 2 hours doing that though, instead let’s highlight some really great verses that tell us directly what God thinks about the importance of gratitude.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“In every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.” Acts 24:3
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:6-8
Wow, how amazing is our God! He is for us and not against us. He is always teaching us of his glorious ways. When you take a moment to pull out what he wants back from us, that is glory to him. To praise the name of Lord and savior. God hears all of our requests and all of our thanks. Let them be known! That my friends, is how we can apply gratitude to faith. There is such a strong correlation here and it’s incredible to have the chance to express gratitude with every breath we breathe. Thank you God for this day and this breathe!
Let’s go ahead and wrap things up today. If you have made it this far, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your eyes and ears today. I appreciate you! If you resonated with anything shared today make sure to share it with someone who you think could benefit from this content. Make sure to let us know the ways you plan to continue or to start practicing gratitude. Drop a comment below or send us a message via social media, we’d love to hear from you!