Doing Life Together

grateful-2940466_1920The other day at work, we were all doing a lot of complaining. Some days, complaining is easy and we focused on lots of problems-administrators not listening, too many meetings, co-workers that irritates us, too little time to get things done, etc.  We can all find reasons to complain, but is this the focus we want to have throughout our day?

Not if we want to walk in positive mental health. Rather than complain, it is better to adopt a focus on gratitude.

Physically, gratitude leads to less aches and pains, lowers your blood pressure, improves your immune system, and helps you heal from trauma.

Psychological, when we are grateful, we are happier overall. We experience more positive emotions, feel more alert, alive, and more focused in our lives.

Socially, grateful people are more optimistic, more outgoing, helpful and are more compassionate. Thankfulness also leads to a more generous spirit.

So, if you want to change from complaints to gratitude, you simply need to shift your focus. Begin by periodically verbalizing things for which you are grateful. Read books about thankfulness and practice thinking of things you are thankful for while you are driving around in the car. With others, make it a game—who can come up with the most things to be thankful for in the day. You can also memorize scriptures that talk about thankfulness like Psalm 100 and meditate on those scriptures.

A simple act like beginning or ending your day by journaling 3 things for which you are grateful can change your attitude.They don’t have to be big things. For example, I am grateful for a warm bed every night. I am grateful for kind neighbors. I am grateful for children who do their best at school, etc. Writing reinforces your thoughts and requires an intentional act to get it on paper. It focuses your brain on the positives.

Another idea is to create a gratitude box in your home. Have family members contribute to it regularly. Then, after a meal, pull out a few of the notes and read them as a family. This exercise teaches children and adults to be intentional about their blessings. I remember an old hymn we used to sing in church that said, “Count your blessings. Name them one by one.” This is one way to do that!

This season, intentionally focus on gratitude, but determine to keep that focus throughout the year. When you find yourself complaining, stop, rehearse in your mind something for which you are thankful and observe how your mood changes. Being grateful will keep you in positive mental health not just at Thanksgiving, but throughout the year.



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