Emotional health, Main, Women, z101
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Cultivating thanksgiving

Credit: Kerri Lee Smith/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Kerri Lee Smith/Flickr/Creative Commons

Yesterday started out well but then in the afternoon I had a couple of hours of frustration when something didn’t go the way I wanted. I ended up taking two hours to complete a task that should have taken 10 minutes. But me, computers and technology don’t always see eye to eye.

I quickly fell into a slump and was starting to get depressed. I was surprised how quickly things had taken a turn for the worse. I knew I needed to pull myself out of this slump and real quick.

The Apostle Paul tells us to:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

All circumstances, describe good and bad and in the midst of bad we are to give thanks. Paul was right, because according to writer J.D. Roth, studies show that roughly 10% of our happiness is determined by our circumstances and 40% of our happiness comes from “intentional activity” which involves what we think and do.

Knowing what will help you in moments like these is not the same as practicing them. Knowing I should give thanks in all things and actually doing it are two separate things.

In his article, How Can We Give Thanks in all Circumstances, Jon Bloom describes:

“Grumbling as the accent of hell and gratitude as the accent of heaven… How is it possible to ‘give thanks’ if your circumstances are horrible. What fuels thanksgiving when life seems to be one discouragement, disappointment, disease, disaster, and death after. The bible says there is only one way. And Jesus is the way and shows the way.”

Bloom then refers to Christ as He broke bread and gave thanks with his disciples just hours before his crucifixion. In His darkest hour, Christ had a thankful heart:

“He took bread, gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them saying, ‘this is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me.'” (Luke 22:19)

So I needed to get the wheel of gratitude up and running as my emotions were taking a deep dive. The only way was by offering up thanksgiving and gratitude for whatever I could  think of.

I decided to find five things to be thankful for. It was hard because it was so against the way I felt at that moment.

I cheated and thanked God for the sunshine three times and for my good health, twice. But I knew that wasn’t enough and I raked my mind to find three more things to be thankful for. Later on a few more things can to my mind and I gave thanks again and then again. The wheel began to turn even as it creaked and groaned but I was starting to get into it!

It helped and although I didn’t experience a huge shift, the next morning I woke up with a positive mindset. Everything seemed better. The day was brighter and my perspective had changed. Minor setbacks such as leaving my wallet at home did not upset me like it would have the day before.

Practicing gratitude and developing a mindset of thankfulness is work and it doesn’t happen just by thinking about it. We must do it!

Once we get the wheel of gratitude moving in our lives, things start happening. Our perspective changes and we begin to rise up through our emotions. Things start to look good again. And the more thankful we are, the higher we rise and the closer to the light we get.

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