3 Reasons You Should Practice Expressing Gratitude
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Health and Wellness

3 Reasons You Should Practice Expressing Gratitude

Incorporating certain facts about human flourishing with everyday life.

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I am not consistently good at being grateful. In fact, I tend to complain a good bit of the time or get easily discouraged and frustrated when things don't work out ideally the way I wished. I have even gone as far as being cynical at times though that isn't the norm. Being thankful is honestly a potentially revolutionary idea about living life that can affect many areas of your life. It can affect the quality of your relationships, affect your attitude in circumstances you despise, help carry you when life gets rough, and set the tone for how you are going to view your day.

There are three reasons why expressing gratitude in prayer and to those closest to you is necessary for you to live life the way you were designed to and which is best for you.

1. It reinforces an attitude of humility.

Some people live as if they are the only people in this universe or as if everyone around them is supposed to cater to every want they have. On the other hand, when you take the time to realize what you have and express gratitude for that, you begin to realize that you are dependent on others to make it through life. You cannot make it through life on your own. You aren't an island. It would be foolish for you to think so. Moreover, realizing that not everything you have was directly earned by you should help you realize that you are privileged to have certain things you have.

I am thankful to have a family even though it was not something I earned. It was given to me. Ultimately, I have what I have because God provided the necessary resources for me to even have what I have. I am intelligent, and God gave me a mind. I have food to eat because farmers labor and because God created the earth with the right atmosphere for food to grow. I could go on and on, but you get the point.

2. It's a powerful antidote to depression.

I have suffered from depression before. I do know what it's like even though I have not suffered as deep of a depression as others have to the point of committing suicide. Most of the reasons why I suffered from depression were self-inflicted, like beating myself up when I sin and thinking I have ruined the entire day or thinking I'm not a good man when I mess up in a relationship with someone. I feel a great deal of compassion for people who struggle with depression and can identify with them in certain ways.

I bring up depression in the context of being grateful because depression saps your joy and weakens your will and active engagement with the world around you. When you verbally express gratitude, you are being active and intentional. It takes effort. You have to force yourself out of being passive or non-engaging with the world. You also have to intentionally think of things to express thanksgiving for because when you're feeling depressed – if you're anything like me – you don't feel like doing much. Expressing gratitude is a great way to combat depression.

Going back to my comment about joy, expressing gratitude can bring stabilizing, lasting joy that doesn't depend on circumstances. I would argue that gratitude is a virtue for one reason. It stabilizes your soul. People who are very grateful tend to have an inner strength that carries them through life without being tossed around on the inside.

3. It enables you to be less inclined to complain over trivial things.

When I start my day by doing certain things that I have to be intentional about – prayer, reading Scripture, journaling, etc. – including expressing gratitude to the Lord for what I have, I tend to be more positive in my outlook for my day and less inclined to complain about trivial things. By trivial things, I am referring to things that might get on your nerves but don't actually pose a threat to you or don't have to ruin your day. I'm referring to things like slow traffic, an annoying fly, stubbing your toe, hearing an infamous cliche for the millionth time, and so on.

Your spirit or attitude doesn't have to be determined by trivial things that happen on any given day. I'm not saying that we can never express frustration or sadness at things that are a big deal. Being honest with ourselves and others will sometimes require that. However, being grateful for what you have can produce a positive outlook that potentially will spill throughout your day in many areas.

Becoming a person of gratitude is difficult and requires asking for empowerment from God every day as well as practicing these things. Prayer is not enough. Yup, you heard me say that. Sanctification will not happen as it should without consistent practice. God did not design us to form good character traits without the role of habits.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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