I have written about this many times and it seems to be a life’s mission for me. We are supposed to be thankful for everything. Last year, I attended a seminar where the presenter suggested that people write down at least 3 things to be thankful for each day. One woman spoke up and said, “But what if we don’t have anything that day?” Are you serious?! Uh, you’re breathing! That counts for one! There is always something to be thankful for!
So, we’ve all seen articles and heard interviews where people share why it is important for us to give thanks. In the United States we believe we even have a holiday to celebrate: Thanksgiving, so regardless of religion or faith, our nation is to be a thankful nation. Other cultures and countries also celebrate festivals to express gratitude during the harvest season. It seems this is a great time to be thankful.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., the author of Gratitude Works!: A 21-day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity suggests 5 reasons why giving thanks is actually good for you.
- Counting blessings boosts your health by lessening depression and lowering blood pressure and creating more optimism.
- A daily practice of gratitude even slows down some of the effects of neurodegeneration that occurs as we age.
- Positive emotions like appreciation significantly lowered levels of cortisol which is the “stress hormone.”
- Being thankful increases oxytocin, the “bonding hormone” so it helps you in your relationships.
- Gratefulness is good for the heart and the waistline and may achieve a 10% reduction in systolic blood pressure and decrease dietary fat intake by up to 20%.
These are all great benefits of being grateful, but I’d like to add one more reason we should give thanks. In 52 A.D. the apostle Paul wrote, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I think he may have been on to something. It seems this concept of gratitude has been around a long time. Why give thanks? There are many reasons and benefits, but I do because the Bible tells me to.