The following is an article I wrote which was published in the November 2017 edition of the Hudson River View
Scientific research shows that gratitude affects your brain in the following 6 ways
- Your brain floods with reward chemicals
- It can help anxiety and depression symptoms lesson
- Your hypothalamus works better. (The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, sleep, and other activities of the automatic nervous system.)
- You’re more resistant to stress
- You fall asleep more easily
- You experience more positive emotions overall.
The Bible also has a lot to say about gratitude or thanksgiving directed toward God.
Thanksgiving is part of prayer which brings the peace of God.
Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This verse points out that thanksgiving is opposite of anxiety, also that when we pray with thanksgiving the peace of God will come into our hearts and minds.
Anxiety is something that can come into your heart at a moment’s notice when you receive bad news. Rather than allowing the anxiety to take over your thinking you can choose to pray, thanking God that He is in control of this situation that is worrying you.
Thanksgiving is thanking God for who He is.
Psalm 106:1 says “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
You can be thankful to God because He is good to you and He will always love you. When you look around the world, seeing violence, disasters and sickness you may be tempted to believe that God is not good. These are consequences for the sin that is in the world – which stem from the original sin of Adam and Eve. In His great love for you He sent Jesus, His only Son, to die a painful death on the cross to rescue you from this life of sin. He also came to heal your brokenness and to rescue you from the anxieties, fear and insecurity which hold you captive. God is good because He did not leave you without a solution to your pain- He gave you Jesus, all you must do is repent and believe.
Thanksgiving is God’s will for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It takes an element of faith to give thanks in all circumstances. Who wants to be thankful when things aren’t going well? Perhaps you might wonder how you can be thankful when your car breaks down on the way to work, leaving you stranded on the side of the road. It takes discipline to find the blessing in that and to keep your mind from turning to worry. But it is God’s will for you that you choose to give thanks.
God made you. He designed your brain and your nervous system. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that it is His will that you do what is best for you. Even scientific research says that being thankful is what is best for your health and emotions.
In this Thanksgiving season and throughout the year choose God’s best – choose to be thankful.
While you are thinking of being thankful enjoy our 2 printable Thanksgiving cards as a blessing to your friends and family.
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