The Basic Habits of Gratitude
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their trouble. — William Penn
As we read God’s Word, we can see the theme of being thankful. There are hundreds of verses telling us to give thanks or offer praise to God. Outside of the Bible, you’ll find lots of articles and research stating the benefits that come with being a grateful person. People who are thankful are known to be depressed less, get better grades in school, sleep better, stay healthy, have deeper friendships, and have a brighter outlook on life. Basically, gratitude is good for you!
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Living as grateful people is God’s will for our lives. God knew before the beginning of time how positively gratitude would affect us—long before an article or book was written about the topic. So, whether your life is moving along smoothly or it feels like you’re walking in quicksand, consider adding these daily habits to your life:
- Create new pathways. Dr. Caroline Leaf, cognitive neuroscientist and author, said, “As you think, you change the structure of your brain.” This isn’t easy. But, we have a choice in what we think about, so let’s allow thoughts of gratefulness to fill our minds.
- Choose five things. Make a daily habit to say or write five things you’re thankful for. You can do it any time of the day—morning or night!
- Set a gratitude alarm. Choose different times in the day. When the alarm goes off, ask God to bring to mind the blessings and gifts in your life and thank Him for them.
- Tell someone. Every day, talk to someone about what you’re thankful for. Maybe it’s their friendship, the sunrise, a powerful moment with God, or an unexpected blessing you received. Saying it makes it more real.
It’s vital that we make our gratitude habitual so that when life’s storms come upon us, we know how to navigate the rough waters. And part of this is trusting God and even choosing to be grateful when we don’t understand the world around us.
As we build this gratitude muscle, it won’t be something we have to think about—it’ll become as natural as breathing.