If Thankfulness Were a Drug . . .

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If (thankfulness) were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.”

– Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy
Duke University Medical Center Brain and Mind Health Expert
(quoted in a newsletter at Mercola.com)

An article in The Wall Street Journal, November, 2010, summarizes a significant body of research on the topic of gratitude:

Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not. They’re also less likely to be depressed, envious, or greedy. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly, and have greater resistance to illness.”

Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychologist and professor at the University of California, Davis, studied gratitude for at least a decade and is considered by many to be the world’s leading authority. After conducting three scientific studies on the topic, Emmons concluded that practicing gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25 percent.

It’s impossible to separate gratitude from happiness. You can’t have one without the other. And it’s impossible to exaggerate what gratitude can do to boost the level of happiness in your marriage, your family, your friendships, and your life!

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, November is often considered the month of focusing on gratitude. What are some ways to practice and develop an attitude of gratitude?

  • Develop a habit of beginning your prayers with things you thank God for.
  • Keep a journal of things you are thankful for.
  • Regularly thank people for the simple things in life they do for you (your spouse, your kids, the clerk at the store, your pastor . . . ).
  • Memorize Scripture about thankfulness. Here are a couple:

    Oh, thank God—he’s so good! His love never runs out.  Psalm 107:1 (MSG) 

    Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
  • Discuss thankfulness with a group of friends or family (and not just Christians)! Q Place offers three simple discussion guides that work especially well at Thanksgiving: Gratitude (Psalm 103), Thankfulness (Philippians 4:6-8), and Giving Thanks in Hard Times (Psalm 107).

One of my favorite traditions at Thanksgiving is to listen to Thankful Boys & Girls by Billy Crockett with my family and friends. As this song progresses, it makes me thankful for the different seasons of life with their changes and transitions and encourages me to “follow the beat of amazing grace” throughout my life.

Thankful for so much!

Fran Goodrich
Q Place National Field Leader

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