Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18
You’ve probably sung, “Count your blessings, name them one by
one… and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” Though it
may feel overly simplistic, research suggests that counting your bless-
ings really works. In several studies, those who sought counseling for
depression and anxiety while also engaging in exercises to help them
express gratitude experienced more improvement in their mental
health than those who received counseling only. Gratitude rewires
our brains toward greater mental health and happiness.
In her 2021 Forbes article, “Gratitude is the Key to Happiness,” Tracy Bowers writes, “You can cultivate gratitude and happiness by consciously focusing on being appreciative for what you have. In addition, the more you express gratitude—through reminding your- self of all you can appreciate, by writing down what you’re grateful for, or by sharing your thanks with someone else—the more happi- ness you’ll feel. Gratitude contributes to more gratitude….”
My pastor uses gratitude to deal with the stress and anxiety that
come from ministry. Because regularly caring for people in physical,
emotional, and spiritual crises can be draining, he sometimes uses
the following exercise that he recommends. Each morning when
you wake up, write down ten things for which you are thankful and
reflect on why you are grateful for those. The next morning, list ten
more things that you are thankful for. Do this for a few weeks and
you will notice a positive change in your mood and attitude.
The psalmist pours out gratitude for God’s many blessings: God’s
love is steadfast. God’s faithfulness is to all generations. Happy are
those who walk in the light of the Lord. How often do you express
gratitude to God and others? Notice how you feel when you do.
List ten things for which you are grateful as a prayer of thanksgiving.
Gracious God, may gratitude be our theme each day, so that we may recognize how your grace surrounds us always. Amen.