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Gratitude: Count Your Blessings

If you count your blessings, will your health improve? Did you know that being thankful or having gratitude can actually make you healthier? According to the Webster Dictionary, “Gratitude is the state of being grateful with a warm and friendly feeling towards someone; and kindness is awakened by the favor received.” People who possess what I like to call an “attitude of gratitude” have lower levels of stress hormones in their blood, less anxiety and depression, sounder sleep and a more satisfied life. Grateful people are also known to have kinder behavior.

In a 1998 study recorded in Integrative Physiological & Behavioral Science. 32 (2) 151-70, forty-five adults were taught to “cultivate appreciation and other positive emotions.” The results were improved health. “Salivary DHEA/DHEAS and cortisol levels were measured, autonomic nervous system function were assessed and emotions were measured using a psychological questionnaire. Individuals were assessed before and four weeks after receiving training in the techniques. The results were a 23% reduction in cortisol (a stress hormone) and a 100% increase in DHEA.”

Gratitude is a skill, something to be learned and not born with. Are you a person of gratitude, who recognizes blessings? Here are 10 questions to evaluate your own thankfulness:

  1. Do you ever count your blessings?
  2. Do you consider yourself fortunate in any way?
  3. Do you treasure the people that are in your life?
  4. Do you verbally express thankfulness?
  5. Do you ever consider becoming a blessing in someone else’s life?
  6. Do you ever feel privileged by your circumstances?
  7. Do you consider food, shelter and clothing a blessing?
  8. Do you appreciate the small, quiet, simple things in life?
  9. Are you thankful for the precious life you have been given?
  10. Are you content with whatever you have?

The Gratitude Challenge: Go 21 days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping and instead on each of those days, record in a journal what you are thankful for. Then watch and observe how you change, you will be surprised!

There is an old hymn entitled, Count Your Blessings and the lyrics goes like this:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

So let us be mindful of our gratitude and not forget to give thanks to the Creatorbecause He alone is the originator of all blessings. Psalm 100 says it best, “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are his people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.