Are you living a life of gratitude? Being thankful is a Biblical prescription for life.
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you,” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
Many texts throughout the Bible encourage us to give thanks. What does it mean to give thanks? How does this state of mind change our physiology? These are all excellent questions to think about this month.
This word, gratitude, is often explained by other words including appreciation, indebted, relieved, and glad for something. Being thankful for me is an understanding of how good something is and how this is benefiting my life. Being thankful is an expression of love and can be an act of worship.
Physiologically, we know being appreciative activates brain regions associated with the reward neuro-transmitter dopamine.
Scientific studies have shown that being thankful:
1. Improves sleep (Applied Psychology, LiveScience 2013)
2. Improves hypothalamic function which is the part of the brain regulating bodily functions (J. Cerebral Cortex 2009)
3. Decreases anxiety and depression (Psychology Today 2012)
4. Helps cardiac function (U. of Cal San Diego 2015, Am, J of Card 1995)
5. Improves Immune function (University of Utah)
We are just beginning to understand why giving thanks is important to our physiology. Giving thanks, via dopamine and other undiscovered mechanisms, lowers stress and can be a treatment for all chronic disease.
I have so much to be thankful for. As I was driving home today, I was thankful for my eyes that I could see the beautiful fall colors. I was thankful that my daughter returned safely from her semester in New Zealand. I was thankful for my work. I was thankful for the opportunity to know God.
Giving thanks is a Biblical prescription for life.
Today I am asking you to remember each day to thank God for at least three things. When you feel bad, give thanks. When you feel good, give thanks.
This will improve your physiology. Our goal is to grow in our relationship with Christ so that we can give thanks in all circumstances. A life of gratitude is great for our health.