Spiritual Healing Article:
By Shannon Malaka 2017
Discovering it's the little things in life that truly matter
Shannon Malaka copyright 2017
Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness that is brought on by a beneficial act or gesture either anticipated or received. Although gratitude is an emotional response that gives acknowledgment through heartfelt admiration and thankfulness; not everyone holds gratitude to the same standards. Because the feelings of gratitude between individuals vary; it can be understood that it is not an emotion born out of instinct. It is learned gradually through the concept of giving and through working out one’s own behavior with effort and dedication. Through repetition, gratitude can become an integral part of life that leads to spiritual health and well being.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Psalms 28:7
Being grateful is a requirement in a believer’s lifestyle as it is a requirement of God that we become mindful of His kindness and mercy. Becoming gracious towards God through an attitude of gratitude is not so much for His benefit as it is for ours. Showing gratitude is a means to help us to live a lifestyle set out according to God’s good and perfect purpose. Lending ourselves over to gratitude behavior allows us to build our character and become the men and women of valor we were meant to be as sons and daughters of God.
Gratitude should never be viewed as a sign of weakness as it helps us to remain humble and give credit where credit is due. Sometimes it is hard to admit to ourselves that we just can’t do it all, but leaning into such acts of humility allows us to admit that some gifts we just can’t give to ourselves.
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement.”
Gratitude aids in keeping us in our place as God’s children and allows God to remain as our Father, protector and comforter. To overstep the boundaries set out by reverence is outright disrespect and we bring dishonor to ourselves and to the name we carry when we neglect to offer God our thanks in prayer daily. Studies have shown that those who choose to adopt an attitude of gratitude lead healthier, fuller and happier lives. Individuals who express thankfulness seem to be less stressed, less depressed, are less likely to avoid conflict resolutions and in fact, are more prone to ask for help should the need arise.
Benefits of having an attitude of gratitude:
- One feels more content within one’s lifestyle.
- One has the ability to maintain and feel comfortable within relationships.
- One adopts a happier outlook on life.
- One becomes more rested.
- One feels healthier; sound in body and mind.
- One gains mental stability and becomes less stressed and/or depressed.
Gratitude, when implemented regularly opens oneself up to forgiveness and enables the heart to let go of bitterness and resentment.
Living an attitude of gratitude is easy! Showing gratitude is humbling and can often be sobering, as it takes a lot of effort for one to pay someone homage from a place deep within their heart. Setting aside some time throughout your day to journal your thoughts and reflect on the moments that you are most thankful for can be a wonderful way to train yourself to adopt a lifestyle of gratitude. Use your journal to brainstorm, and don’t be shy. Allow your feelings to shine. In your journal choose three things within your day that you are most thankful for. Make the effort to not only thank God in your journal, but take the time to mention a friend, a colleague or a family member.
Once you are well established in your journal writing, implement a gracious heart and attitude towards others. Make a habit to say thank you sincerely and with a smile at least three times a day to separate individuals. Also make an effort to set aside some quite time at equally throughout the day to give thanks to God and let Him know the ways you are most thankful to Him.
Consider writing a letter of gratitude to someone, you can choose to send it, or write it in your journal if you do not have the opportunity to correspond with the person. Write God a letter to, and speak it to Him in prayer.
Once a month revisit your journal as if you are a person who has just found a long lost book and are anxious to read what’s inside. Reflecting on moments treasured can help build emotional strength when faced with troubling times.
Gratitude Awareness assessment:
In what areas of your life could be better defined with an attitude of gratitude? Take this short assessment to and discover how to make happiness work for you.
1. Are you content with your life, even though you may face a lot of challenges?
2. You recognize that while your family isn’t perfect, you are happy they are in your life and thank God for them.
3. You are pleased with your career, school, and are excited about where you are going.
4. You recognize that without God in your life, things could be a lot different.
5. You feel blessed and happy with your friends.
6. You recognize those who have helped you in your life, and acknowledge their efforts in sincerity.
7. You see the beauty of God’s handy work and leadership in your life and go to great lengths to thank Him by applying His mandate in your life and treating others the same way He has blessed you.
"GRATITUDE IS THE BASIC CHRISTIAN ATTITUDE"
- Martin Luther