Next week November 1st comes around, and we all start thinking of the holidays, the first of which is Thanksgiving. Of course that is a time when we are supposed to give thanks. But do we? Or do we look at this holiday only as a time to stuff our faces, sit around and watch football, and hang out with family? There's nothing wrong with that, and I'll probably do a little of each. But, are we thankful? Really Thankful?
You'd be surprised at the
benefits of living a life of gratefulness. It changes your whole
physiology (your insides). Studies have shown that practicing
gratefulness has a whole myriad of health benefits. It can literally
add years to your life, and life to your years.
There are several
ways to start living this style of life. I teach my patients these
when they are having issues with depression or with anxiety. One would
be to buy a small notebook that you keep with you. You can use this as
your gratefulness journal. You can either carry it with you and write
in it as the day goes by about what your grateful for, or you can have a
specific time every day that you sit down to use it. Every day, your
task is to write down 5 things you are grateful for. Now, the goal is
not just to create a list of things you are thankful for, but to
experience exactly why you are thankful. The goal is to shift our focus from all that is not quite right in our life, to the blessings we already have. It's easy to find the bad in life, anyone can do that. But it takes time and effort to be truly grateful. So, how DO we move from making a list to experiencing true gratefulness? Read on!
you pick something you are thankful for, don't just write it down.
Instead, write it down, then write a brief sentence or two as to WHY you
are grateful. For instance, if I were to write down I am grateful for
my wife, I'd might say the following: "I am grateful for my wife because
she is beautiful inside and out, and I could not ask for a better mom
for my kids. I enjoyed sitting with her by the fire pit and just
shooting the breeze last night". That is a real example that I used
recently. When you do it this way, you will not just state what you are blessed with, you will re-experience it. That is what will change your physiology.
You can do that once a day and list 5 things, or you
can go through the day and write things down as they come to you or you
experience them. Or you can do a combination of the two where you spend 5
minutes writing in your journal daily, but you also keep it with you so
you can write down other things that you might experience throughout
the day. If you're ever feeling down, stressed, depressed or
frustrated, take it out and read through some of the entries.
every night before you fall asleep, think on those things again. The
bible tells us in Phillipians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is
lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or
praiseworthy--think about such things." So every night review your day
and focus on those things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable
etc and be thankful for them. It's a great way to drift off to sleep.