While researching mental health benefits of gratitude, I was surprised to find several articles promoting gratitude for mostly selfish reasons. A give gratitude so you get more way of thinking.
I completely understand how “what’s in it for me” can become an ulterior motive. We are by nature self-centered and we want a profitable return on our investments whether we’re talking time, money, position, or people.
And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! Luke 6:33
Although it’s true . . . living with gratitude is personally beneficial; I believe the best benefits are felt in the heart instead of the pocket.
I love this quote by John Wooden:
You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
This includes our relationship with God. It’s easy to be motivated to show gratitude, obey the rules, and serve others to get a payback from God. I wonder though, is that genuine gratitude. It’s time to adjust our thinking.
And I believe the following to dos will improve your attitude of gratitude:
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal – It doesn’t matter whether it’s a beautiful book-bound journal, a spiral notebook, or an electronic app . . . list the things for which you are grateful everyday.
Ask yourself – What – blessed me today? What – nice things were done for you, did you do for someone else? What – people, places, and creature comforts did you enjoy? What – needs were met? What – things might you be taking for granted?
The list is endless. Set a goal and challenge yourself to see how many things you can list in 2013.
2. Pray – Don’t just make a list. Pray over it. Stop. Thank God for the blessings He pours into your life everyday. How many things do you use each day that you don’t even notice, or worse yet complain and want new, bigger, or better.
I still feel overwhelmed when I look around my home and community and think of the completely opposite living conditions I saw last year traveling in Bolivia with representatives of World Vision.
Praying with gratitude inspires not only thankful hearts, but it moves us help and serve others.
3. Tell Someone about Your Efforts to Live with Intentional Gratitude - It is good to have an accountability partner with whom you spend a fair amount of time. You want someone who will gently remind you when your grumbling gets out of control.
Well, maybe you won’t need it, but I certainly do.
Okay, this is just the beginning. You won’t want to miss tomorrow when I will add several more to the list.
Remember . . . living with intentional gratitude will improve your mental health. It’s another blessing from God. Not our motivation, but simply His grace through the Holy Spirit filling a humble grateful heart with the fruit of the Spirit.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23