A Light for My Path Devotional

The Benefits of Being Grateful

PSALM 69:39 (KJV)
I will praise the name of God with a song, and magnify Him with thanksgiving.

Last week we looked at the fact that counting your physical, material, relational, and spiritual blessings will constantly keep you aware of just how very rich you are—no matter how much money you have in the bank. It certainly makes your outlook brighter, keeps you in a better mood, and even makes you easier to live with! But did you know that having a grateful attitude also produces tremendous health benefits?

Dr. Catherine Hart Weber writes extensively on gratitude and the amazing affects it can have on the human system. In her book FLOURISH, Dr. Weber states, “Nurturing a grateful heart leads to a healthier body, a happier mind, and relationships that flourish. The practice of gratitude can actually change the state of your brain, right down to your neurons.”

Dr. Preson Phillips, one of my favorite college professors, used to say often, “Science is just now catching up with the Bible.” And he was right! Only in recent years has psychology caught up with Biblical teaching on the benefits of gratitude. In fact, there is so much current research on the subject that a whole discipline of psychology is devoted to the study and practice of developing and incorporating gratitude into our way of thinking.

Scientific research by R.A. Emmons and M.E. McCullough shows that people who have a grateful heart have lower blood pressure, less physical illness, decreased pain, and better sleep than those who fail to count their blessings. In addition, a positive perspective produces less stress in the body and leads to decreased levels of anxiety, anger, bitterness, and rage. Practicing gratitude also increases cognitive ability, broadens creativity, and improves problem-solving skills.

For decades we’ve emphasized the value of healthy eating and exercise to achieve a healthy mind and body. Who knew that counting your blessings could have nearly the same affect? Now don’t replace healthy eating and exercise with seeing your blessings and saying “Thank you” and “I appreciate that,” every once in a while. They certainly are beneficial, but do take time to examine your heart and mind to see if you focus more on the good aspects of life or on the negative. While being thankful will make life more pleasurable, being negative will make you miserable. Which way do you want to live?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help us as we seek to honor You with our minds and bodies by developing our skill of being grateful.

WORDS TO PONDER:
“The feeling and practice of gratitude is the single strongest predictor of life satisfaction. Gratitude can impact every aspect of our lives for the better.”
–Catherine Hart Weber, Christian Author & Psychologist

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By Ann Shorb
Copyright Ann Shorb, 2014

Scripture taken from the King James Version of The Holy Bible.

Skits for Fun and Learning - Puppet scriptsSkits for Fun and Learning
Skits for Fun and Learning is a collection of 15 puppet scripts and 5 articles on the subject of success with puppet ministries. The articles and scripts have been written by Dr. Ann Shorb and the book is available for purchase as a paperback, or as a PDF download.

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