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God. It means being aware on a continuous basis of how much we’ve been given (30:50). Gratitude shifts our focus from what we appear to lack, to the abundance God already gave us.
People tend to take for granted the good that is already present in their lives. There’s a gratitude exercise that has you imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your ability to see, hear, walk, etc. Now, imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each blessing (16:78, 6:46).
Use gratitude to help put things in perspective. When things don’t go our way, remember that God is in control. That there’s a good reason for it. As long as we’re steadfast (2:45, 2:153), the test carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. Always turn to God and ask yourself: “What can I learn from this?” “What’s good about this?” “How can I grow my soul with this?”
Gratitude may be one of the most overlooked tools that we all have access to every day. Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money and it certainly doesn’t take much time, but the benefits are enormous. God states in 27:40 The one who possessed knowledge from the book said, “I can bring it to you in the blink of your eye.” When he saw it settled in front of him, he said, "This is a blessing from my Lord, whereby He tests me, to show whether I am appreciative or unappreciative. Whoever is appreciative is appreciative for his own good, and if one turns unappreciative, then my Lord is in no need for him, Most Honorable.”
Science says gratitude has many benefits.
1. Gratitude fosters more relationships. We are taught that saying “thank you” is good manners.
According to a 2014 study published in Emotion it also helps you make friends. If you thank a new acquaintance, they are more likely to want to continue the friendship.
2. Gratitude improves physical health. Following God’s system is the secret to health and happiness. Science is finding that out too. According to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences grateful people experienced fewer aches and pains, had a better immune system, and reported feeling healthier than others. They were also more likely to exercise regularly and attend regular check-ups with their doctors. Also, being appreciative appears linked to reducing the effects of aging on the brain. Praise God!
3. Gratitude improves psychological health. God tells us to counter evil with good. Being grateful reduces many harmful emotions, including envy, resentment, frustration and regret (according to Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading researcher in the field). If you’re thanking God for the car He gave you, why would you envy someone else’s? Whatever God gives us is perfect (11:86).
4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. God’s system is peace while Satan preaches aggression. Studies show grateful people are less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback. They also were more empathetic and had a decreased desire to seek revenge. A submitter knows God is in control, and will work on suppressing anger and pardoning the people (3:134).
5. Grateful people sleep better. Writing about things we appreciate improves sleep, according to a 2011 study in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. The study examined being appreciative before bed. Let’s try to be appreciative every chance we get (2:152, 3:191).
6. Gratitude increases mental strength. Research shows gratitude not only reduces stress, but can also help overcome trauma. According to a WebMD report gratitude after the events of 9/11 helped people deal with stress. Life and death are in God’s hands.
Each day is an opportunity to grow closer to Him.
7. It’s good for teen mental health. Not surprisingly, teens who are appreciative are happier (according to research presented at the American Psychological Association meeting in 2016). Such individuals were more likely to be well-behaved at school and have a positive outlook. Adolescence can be a difficult stage in life, and appreciating God’s many blessings can help overcome the anger and negativity Satan tries to promote.
8. Better Grades Grateful high-schoolers had higher GPAs, were more satisfied with life according to a 2010 study in the Journal of Happiness Studies. They were less likely to be depressed or envious. The best thing we can do for our children is to bring them up as righteous persons (2:220, 20:132). God’s system is perfect.
We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve.Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction with life. Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted.
Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good.
So, when God says in 27:40 “...whoever is appreciative is appreciative for his own good,” it is not just for reasons of faith; it REALLY IS for our own good—physically and mentally. God willing, let's all try to be more appreciative on a daily basis.
Reference: Amy Morin, “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude That Will Motivate You To Give Thanks Year-Round,” Forbes, 2014.