Giving thanks is a common human deed. When someone offers to open the door or reach out for an item on behalf of us, we say “thank you”. In prayer, the part where we thank God for the blessing of the day and of our lives is essential. Appreciating the small things in our lives throughout the years could positively impact our day-to-day life. People even celebrate Thanksgiving which circulates on the premise of giving thanks. Many tragedies rage throughout this world, and it’s easy to lose our hope and joy to negativity and destruction. But if we choose to see the world with God’s grace we can have the knowledge and comfort that our God is here for better or for worse.
Aside from the positivity and value of what this deed of thanksgiving does to us, did you know that it also holds a powerful impact on your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health? Here are twenty reasons that will surely shift the way you think about an act as simple as being grateful.
1. It Improves Your Overall Condition
If you feel sluggish, unmotivated, and prone to making bad decisions for your health, giving thanks is simple enough to shift your mindset. A study by Emmons and McCullough reveals that people who show gratitude have less stress, more energy, lower blood pressure, and became more optimistic than those who didn’t. In fact, other studies even revealed that gratitude aids in reducing inflammation!
As a result, the mood of a person improves and they will begin to look forward to making good health and good mental health choices. It is a domino effect wherein the more you are thankful for what and where you are, the more you become enthusiastic about improving yourself and your condition. It is similar to how students who are positive and thankful towards their professors lean towards better academic focus, creativity, and performance.
2. It Helps to Reverse the Aging Process
Giving thanks may just be the easiest and cheapest way to reverse the aging process. In a similar study conducted by Emmons and McCullough, it shows that the constant practice of giving thanks has resulted in the slowing effects of neurodegeneration. Put simply, we become happier when we are thankful because we can spot and realize the many, many reasons to be happy about. Obviously, this decreases our stress levels that slow down the aging process.
3. It Helps Improve Your Memory
Who wouldn’t like a good cognitive boost, right? By being grateful, we give our brains space and time to free up itself against anxiety, stressors, and depression. As a result, we can be more focused. Thus, improving our ability to perform, recall, and process any information provided for an by our brains.
Connecting this to the Word of God, Philippians 4:6 tells us not to be anxious but to make our requests known to God. Whenever we acknowledge all of the blessings generously supplied by God, we beat anxiety. At the same time, we acknowledge that God is in control. So, it makes sense that our brains should be free from any unnecessary thoughts that do nothing good for us.
4. It Reduces Sleeping Problems
If your sleeping pattern is unnatural or you find it extremely challenging to get a good night’s rest after a long day, being thankful is an easy step you should consider. Researches conducted about sleep recorded that people who listed the items of things they are thankful for became drowsy within fifteen minutes. Instead of creating a list, you can also do a two-in-one mega combo, say a prayer with gratitude. Not only can this help in the process of being thankful, but it also strengthens your communication with the Lord.
Sometimes, when we can’t sleep no matter how hard we try, it must be that we have a message to hear. Psalm 4:8 tells us that with God, we can rest in peace. When we practice being grateful, we lose our tendency to worry about tomorrow. Gratitude isn’t just about giving thanks. It’s also about giving trust to God knowing that He is going to be in full control, 24/7, over our dreams and aspirations- Isn’t this knowledge a good way to end the day?
5. It Gives You Peace
If our stressors and problems are doing more than just affecting our sleep patterns, it means that we are losing our peace. This results in many emotional problems that can risk our mental health. But, observing gratitude is a good way to cope up with this. Here’s why; with the pressure of this fast-paced world, we often feel insufficient or inferior towards ourselves. Inevitably, we worry so much about things we cannot control such as our current situation and our personal lives.
The moment this happens, we lose the beautiful blessing, that is peace. However, if we start speaking kindly towards ourselves, if we stop invalidating the attributes we can do, and if we can just reminisce on the magnificent life God has given us, we will start appreciating more. The formula for obtaining peace with God is to first, acknowledge what He has done for you to see the wonderful human that He made you out to be. We will never find peace with or through material and social validation so, let us not glorify these worldly matters, but thank God for the things we have instead.
6. It Enhances Your Academic and Professional Performance
Truth be told, being a student or an employee can be draining at times. We often feel immense pressure to do well and submit our tasks on time. For students, our professors can sometimes make us feel tense over our responsibilities. But, a quick remedy to cancel out any unneeded tension and promote productivity is by expressing thankfulness.
See, our jobs, responsibilities, and our enrollment in our schools are a blessing not everyone has. The fact that our bosses trust us with work and how our professors are looking forward to our improvement means that we are indeed capable of doing great things. When we start thanking our bosses or professors for the tasks they hand out, we become more enthusiastic to work. We see the greater picture of our purpose as we see and thank the purpose of others as well. With this mindset, we can never see responsibility as a stressor again.
7. It Reminds You of What Matters
The core lesson of gratitude is not just about knowing why to give thanks but, also identify what we are being thankful for. 1 John 2:15 tells us not to love the world. When we start thanking worldly things that aren’t from God, like power, money, and pride- we drown ourselves in meaningless and temporary happiness. When we learn to direct our gratitude on the thing that matters which is our relationship with God, we can grasp constant, unstoppable happiness.
To explain this, have you tried being so happy over a material object only to feel extremely upset over the next day or week? See, these things come and go. Our happiness is temporary and will stay temporary unless our happiness comes from the eternal source of everything good, which is God. The more we thank God, the more we understand that although our earthly happiness comes and goes, God will always supply a better form of joy following His Will. Gratitude paired with the right direction helps in keeping us grounded on what truly matters.
8. It Keeps You Away From Sin
Acknowledgment of goodness leads to the denial of the wicked. When we are thankful for the blessings we receive, we assess ourselves better. We start seeing through our actions and because we hold a high regard towards the things we have, we encourage ourselves to do better. We can observe this through our children. When parents give a child the treats or toys they want, they feel a certain sense of responsibility to not engage in actions that may offend or anger their parents.
Another reason why giving thanks helps in avoiding sin is how we can see God in a brighter light. Thanking Him and everything He has done means that we are admiring Him and honoring His Name. Therefore, we engrave within ourselves the full acknowledgment that God is the one to praise for and not the world. This small act really brings a big impact!
9. It Helps Amplify Your Productivity
Productivity is hard to achieve. Sometimes, even thinking about our tasks can make us feel tired and drained already. But, as simple as giving thanks can boost your levels of alertness and confidence. Consequently, this fuels your enthusiasm and determination to step up and be productive. A simple way to put it is how all workloads are tiring. But, when you’re thankful for your work and the condition you are in, any tiring task will turn itself into an exciting blessing. You can try to list down the things you are thankful for from smallest to biggest. And from there, you will start gaining more interest in your responsibilities.
10. Better Immune System!
Who would have known that being thankful means having a better immune system? It has been found that people who are optimistic enough to state their gratitude are in for a surprise. Thankfulness is linked with better immune system health as these induce more immune-boosting blood cells than those who are easily stressed and more pessimistic. Aside from protecting your mood and overall mindset towards life, gratitude can even protect you from harmful substances. It’s definitely a back-to-back win!
11. It Makes You Resilient
When you know and admire the nonmaterial and priceless blessings God has given you, the world can take everything you own, and yet you still won’t break into pieces. Love, peace, assurance, and security are blessings God gives for free. Unfortunately, we don’t see the beauty of these blessings as much as we do with material and expensive things. But, when you praise God for what you have, you will never lose to anything or anyone. You become resilient when you’re thankful. It’s not only because you get stronger but because you see more and this intimidates the forces of the world. The more you thank God’s blessings, the more you become powerful towards things or people that wish to break you.
12. Problems Won’t Be Problems
Here’s the truth; no one can have problems over matters that don’t matter to them. Most of the time, the events we perceive as problems are mere illusions we make due to our lack of gratitude. For example, if a woman trying to lose weight targets to jump from 80 kilograms to a light 50 kilograms in a span of six months, she can. But, when she starts losing only 2 kilograms per week, she creates a problem for herself. She feels insufficient although she’s doing her best. Little does she know that she’s doing a great job. Now, does this problem actually exist? No. Let’s change the story and say this woman instead applauds herself in every single kilogram she loses. Now, will the problem still exist? No.
The feeling of insufficiency is dangerous. It makes one lose track of God’s blessings and fuels the person’s mind of never being enough. How can we battle this? Simple, just be thankful for every single thing that goes your way. Either way, know that God won’t send you anything without a purpose. So, don’t forget to thank Him when this happens.
13. It Helps With Self-Discovery
A common problem people encounter with themselves is not knowing enough. A simple exercise you can do to help with this problem is to think of everything you have and give thanks. It can be as simple as “Thank You Lord for giving me perfect eyesight” to something as big as “Thank You God for giving me the artistic skill to make people happy when they see my artwork”. From here, you’ll realize what kind of a person you are in the eyes of others. You might be shocked to discover the many attributes you have that make the world a better place to live in.
14. You’ll Love More and Hate Less
Gossip, hate, and other person-to-person conflicts are extremely toxic. Luke 6:27-36 tells us to love our enemies. As challenging as that may be, a step we can take is to thank God for the existence of our friends and enemies. Start small and tell Him about your first encounter or characteristics you find really amusing about them. No matter how sad or happy you are, giving thanks for the life of another person with the presence of God will make you realize the big pages these people play in your life. Plus, it’s tiring to hold grudges. Negative mindsets take out the beauty of life and meeting people.
15. You Attract People More
When you practice gratitude, you become happier. And of course, who wouldn’t want to be with a happy person? Gratitude is something that looks great on everyone. You’ll end up smiling more, listening more, and worrying less. People glow from the inside when they step out and leave their negative mindsets to the past. It’s also something contagious, people catch jolly optimism and vibrant gratitude when they encounter it.
16. You Become More Generous
As God’s people, we need to help each other. Big or small, people need people. Sadly, thoughts that motivate greed, negativity, pride, and selfishness keep people away from helping each other. But, when we are thankful for what we have, the more motivated we are to share these blessings. Practicing gratitude allows generosity to become an instant “switch”. They don’t even have to try; grateful people are effortlessly generous people.
17. You Will Become More Empathetic
The world needs more empathy. Sin breeds actions that deny mercy and compassion. But, when we are wise enough to see through our blessings, we feel more and do more. Our existence will no longer limit itself and we start seeing our purpose towards other people too. Gratitude plays a big role in purpose because we cannot see things we don’t appreciate. It can really be as simple as that, and yet we tend to miss it.
18. It Gives You Freedom
Gratitude teaches us contentment. When we start thanking God for things that actually matter like our relationship with Him and other people, faith, friendships, and other priceless things, we are free from the bondage the world dictates we should have. Elaborating this, when we are thankful for the right things, we don’t crave for the wrong ones. We grasp freedom in a way that we are free from worrying about what opinions people have for us or even how we look or how we are “in the trend” or not.
The desire for these things hinders our freedom. There is no limit to earthly desires. If we keep this up, we can never realize the real things that make up the happiness of life that we can obtain. So, what should we do then? We should thank God so He can direct us to life’s true fortunes. Until then can we truly understand what we need in life.
19. You Can Never Lose With Gratitude
With all the other listed items above, you can never lose with gratitude! No man has ever told his friend that he’s “too thankful” for the blessings he received. With this virtue, you can only win and never lose. Giving thanks means improving your mindset, health, social and spiritual stability, and much more. It is a virtue we should not discard from our lives. If we choose to, our lives will lose its beauty at least in the way we see it. No one wants to live never knowing its wonder, right?
20. It Bonds You Closer With God
Saving the best for last, gratitude bonds us closer with God. Colossians 3:17 tells us to thank God in whatever we do. Thanking, appreciating, and acknowledging everything the Lord does for us is a form of worship too. Additionally, we can see more of the Lord’s immeasurable greatness when we are keen in looking for even the tiniest details of God’s intervention in our lives.
What we want is a deep relationship with God. Just like how we treat our relationships with other people, we can’t really connect with them if we can’t appreciate what they do for us. Loving and praising God is like that. Gratitude is a simple yet meaningful response we can offer to the Lord for being there for us 24/7. It has plenty of benefits but of course, nothing matches the importance of our relationship with God that is tested by earthly desires but strengthened by gratitude.
Every day is another chance to show God and the world how thankful we are for everything we have. Aside from the mentioned importance of doing so, gratitude is an essential make or break factor reflecting our happiness and contentment. We don’t have to wait for a specific celebration such as Thanksgiving or Christmas to be thankful for we can be and should be thankful every day.
Our lives are like art canvases painted with the world’s richest oil paints and the world’s best artists. If we stand right in front of our canvas with our eyes closed, we can never see the beauty it holds. Similarly, with life, gratitude is a decision we make when we finally open our eyes to witness the sight we’ve been ignoring to appreciate. From here, life gets better with giving thanks. It is your ability to have and show gratitude in your daily life that opens your mind, body, and spirit to an abundance of positivity!