Gratitude is everywhere. On Facebook, people are being encouraged to list there 3-5 things a day that they are grateful for. I recently received an update from a blog that I follow http://www.everywomanover29.com/blog/gratitude-less-anxiety/. The article discussed the importance of gratitude to feel better and have less anxiety.
What am I grateful for?
– My wonderful husband, Niall, and our new puppy, Hamish, who is already bringing us lots of love and laughter.
– Our new friends, job, and life in Budapest that we are LOVING!
– My family, which is spread across two continents.
– The time, opportunity, and inspiration to write this blog and to share our lives with others.
What’s the big deal with gratitude? Why is it so important to be grateful and thankful for what we have?
Research says that people who are grateful (think, talk, or write about gratitude):
– exercise more and feel more optimistic
– are more alert, enthusiastic, determined, attentive, energetic, and have longer and better quality of sleep
– have less depression and stress
– more likely to help others
– place less importance on material goods and more likely to share with others
“The Importance of Gratitude.” UMass Dartmouth. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.
There is a lot of evidence to show that gratitude is important. I am a Christian and I believe in God and the Bible. For some people, that statement would immediately cause a negative reaction. I realize that there are many people who do not believe in God or the Bible. I also realize there are many people that have seen behaviours in church or in people who say they are Christians and as a result do not believe in God or the Bible. There are many people who have had many difficult situations in their lives and so they do not believe in God or the Bible. I am not trying to push or preach to anyone. I will write about what I believe.
Therefore, for me, I see a connection between the importance of gratitude that I have seen on Facebook and in other places, to what I know about God and the Bible. God has been telling us to be grateful and thankful for a long time already. I believe that he does this both because it is good for us human beings to practice gratitude and also because it is important for us to be grateful to God. Psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” I Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
The statement “give thanks in all circumstances” is significant to me. It seems that whatever is happening to us, we need to give thanks and be grateful. Society (and positive psychology) is saying the same thing as God is saying in the Bible. Despite difficult times or challenging circumstances there are always ways that we can be grateful. Last June, I travelled with 4 other teachers and 25 high school students to a school in Malawi, Africa. This school has about 400 students, ALL of whom have been affected by HIV/AIDS. For many the children themselves have contracted the disease and all of the children had lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. Despite these impossible circumstances, these children found a way to be happy and positive and grateful. They showed us their love with their hugs and smiles.
There is no way we can compare or categorize difficulties in our lives. We all have our own struggles. We all have our own gratitude.