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The Benefits of a Grateful Heart

We all have daily routines or practices, some helpful and some harmful. For example, eating a healthy breakfast is helpful, but consistently sleeping five hours nightly is harmful. Both practices will impact the quality of our lives. I want to propose a practice that will deliver powerful benefits, with no possibility of harm – daily gratitude.

Gratitude is defined as “a strong feeling of appreciation to someone or something.” Philosophers, religious leaders, psychologists, and scientists have long recognized the importance of gratitude; but now it is touted by motivational speakers like Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, and Iyanla Vanzant. Why? Because a grateful heart provides multiple, rich, and unexpected benefits.

The website, www.happierhumans.com, posted an article entitled “The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life.” Several of the benefits listed are:

  • Emotional – less envious, more resilient, happier memories.
  • Social – kinder, deeper relationships, healthier marriage.
  • Career – increased productivity, improved networking, goal achievement.
  • Health – improved sleep, increased energy, longevity.

When we are grateful “thank you” overflows our hearts and through our lips. The Bible encourages us to express gratitude with thanksgiving:

Psalm 118:24 – This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Ephesians 1:16 – I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

Psalm 136:1 – Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

I recommend developing a grateful heart for 2019; or maintaining this practice if you are already a practitioner. This would be a rewarding New Year’s resolution that is worth keeping all year. To reap lasting benefits, record why you are thankful. Gratitude journals can be purchased from any book store. There are also digital journals such as www.thnx4.org,“an online shareable gratitude journal,” and printable journal templates like http://www.mercyisnew.com/wp-content/uploads/Grateful-Journal-PDF.pdf.

You may be hesitant to start a gratitude journal as your New Year’s resolution because it will be one more thing to add to your already busy life. But maybe you can identify with Pastor Karen Jethro’s Facebook post, “I don’t know if I have the mental energy to reflect over 2018. I’m just going to be thankful for today.” I feel the same way too. Whether you can write it down or just speak it, expressing gratitude for God, our families, and life itself will reap untold benefits in every area of our lives.

What has been your experience with the attitude of gratitude? Share your wisdom with us.

#join the conversation.

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