Do you really think you are doing anybody a favour when you say ‘thank you?’ Think again. Showing gratitude brings more benefits to you than to the person that you are grateful to. Same thing happens when you are grateful to God. You are not doing God a favour when you thank him for the things that He has done for you.
Gratitude is not a feeling. It is an attitude. It is something you must do intentionally, not only when you feel like it. It is a habit that you must cultivate not just because it makes you look good to others, but also because of the many benefits you get from it. Gratitude must also be expressed. It is not enough to think or feel grateful. You must say it out, write it out and show it.
Some people set aside a season of the year to offer thanksgiving. Others set aside a day in a month for thanksgiving or they do so when they go to church on Sunday. But thanksgiving should be an everyday, moment by moment activity. You need to be grateful for your family, friends, career, good health and more. You should be grateful that you have access to the internet; that you can read and comprehend this article; that you have good eyesight, if you do, and a lot of other things.
You should be grateful that you are alive. That you have someone that cares about you, even if it is one person in the whole world. It may seem hard to be thankful when many areas of life are much more challenging. Even if you have lost something in life, you should be grateful for what is left. Remember that it could have been worse.
Ingratitude has been a general problem of mankind. We don’t seem to show enough gratitude for the blessings we receive in life. If we did, there would be fewer complaints. Life is beautiful, despite the challenges and God has been so kind. This attitude of gratitude is better in some cultures than in others.
The Yorubas, for instance, appear to be more appreciative than the rest of us in Nigeria. It is in their culture to say ‘thank you’ as many times as possible for a single act of kindness. Two of the first few Yoruba words I picked up while living in Lagos are, ‘eseono’, meaning, thanks for the other day. It was common to find a neighbour or colleague greet you ‘eseono’ for something you did a week ago, despite the fact that they had already shown appreciation at the time you did that favour.
But why do some people find it difficult to be deeply grateful for a favour done them? I believe the main reason is that they take things for granted. So they feel there is nothing special about what someone has done for them. Do you take your ability to sleep and wake up for granted? Many others couldn’t make it. Some people are fed through pipes in their noses but you can eat and you can enjoy your food. It’s just normal, right?
When you belittle a gift or an act of kindness, you cannot really show appreciation for it. Moreover, if you do not really understand the benefit that is derivable from living in an attitude of gratitude, you will not see any need to be grateful.
Whether you write thank you notes, keep a gratitude journal, or give a verbal expression of thankfulness to God or to someone, you will experience many benefits both physically and mentally. And the practice of gratitude can have long term benefits to your wellbeing and that of your endeavors. Below are seven of he many benefits of gratitude.
7 Benefits of Gratitude
- It Eases Depression
Gratitude is known to ease symptoms of depression. Counting your blessings regularly will help to shift attention from your emotional pain to other areas of your life that you are happy about. Gratitude can also reduce numerous toxic emotions like envy, resentment, regret and frustration, leading to an improved outlook on life.
2. It Keeps You in Touch with God
Gratitude to God will remind you of God’s presence all day long. And carrying the consciousness of God’s presence is a confidence booster anytime. As you thank God for every experience, big and small, you are actually communing with Him. You can fulfill the Biblical instruction to pray without ceasing by giving thanks all day and all night. Yes, you read it correctly. You can make ‘thank you Lord’ your meditation.
Giving thanks always doesn’t mean that you go around lifting your hands or bowing down and screaming everywhere. You can do it without any drama or nuisance. Apostle Paul talks about ‘making melody in your heart’ in the book of Ephesians. You can thank God under your breath, speaking out only when it is decent to do so. You can let thanksgiving dominate your discussion at work instead of complaining.
3. It Improves Your Physical Health
Being grateful is a wonderful way to improve your health. In fact, people who regularly take time to practice gratitude have up to 20% lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) than those who do not. But that is not all. Gratitude also lowers your blood pressure, improves your sleep, and decreases chronic pain. Some studies have even shown that a regular gratitude practice can improve your overall immune function, making you less likely to get sick.
4. It Makes You Sleep Better
Many research studies have shown that having an attitude of gratitude helps individuals have better quality of sleep. People who are grateful experience falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer. So if quality sleep is a struggle for you, try writing down specific things you are grateful for, few minutes before going to bed. If you wake u in the night and find it difficult to get back to sleep, count your blessings instead of allowing haughty of fear to dominate your mind.
5. You Become More Likable
Let’s face it, no one wants to be around someone who’s negative all of the time. Expressing gratitude is a positive gesture. This mindset helps you become more likable to others. Meaning you will make more friends and have a loyal community of people around you supporting you in every day life. One way to win and keep friends is to be grateful. Everyone loves to be appreciated. Even God is pleased when we are grateful.
6. Stronger Self-esteem
Studies reveal that gratitude can reduce social comparisons. It makes you to live in contentment. Grateful people are less likely to be jealous or envious of others. A contributing factor in lower self-esteem is being resentful toward others who you consider to be better than you. When you are grateful, you are able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments and have security in your own self-worth.
7. It Allows You To Challenge Adversity
Everyone encounters difficulty at some point in life. Yet some people are resilient. No matter what they face, they always seem to bounce back and turn obstacles into opportunities to better themselves. What’s the secret? It’s simple, grateful people are focused on what’s going right, on what resources they already have, and how they can use these blessings to improve their fortunes. This enables them to cope with setbacks without losing their will to carry on. When you have a grateful heart, what crushes others will elevate you, in the long run.
Have I convinced you to be grateful? Please share to those who might need it.
Remember that what matters is not what goes on around you, but what goes on inside you. Stay safe!