This weekend Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving. Our houses were filled with the delicious aromas of turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potato mash and pumpkin pie. I’m responsible for bringing the Green Bean Casserole and my Thankfulness Journal. Years before I had tried to get people to share what they were thankful for around the table and that never worked, so I bought the book and began collecting the gratitude of my family and friends at Thanksgiving dinner. This year I’ve stepped it up a notch and began Counting My Blessings each morning. It’s helping to change my outlook on life.
In Philippians chapter four, Paul is writing to help people struggling with anxiety. He 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.” He then teaches how to keep this kind of peace in verse 8 by keeping our thoughts fixed on things worthy of praise.
Science & Scripture
I love when science backs up Scripture. Recent studies have given fact to Paul’s theory on defeating anxiety with thanksgiving.
In a Psychology Today magazine article called The Grateful Brain; The neuroscience of giving thanks”, Alex Korb, PhD tells how practicing thankfulness
“has the power to reshape your neural pathways….
help you exercise more, sleep better and be happier…
So gratitude had a direct effect on depression symptoms
(the more gratitude, the less depression)
and an indirect effect on anxiety
(increased gratitude led to improved sleep, which led to lower anxiety).
Either way, with gratitude you’re better off, and you get a good night’s sleep.”1
In a scientific study of 293 adults with mental health issues, people were put into three groups. The first group received counselling. The second group went to counselling, but also had to journal about
“their deepest thoughts and feelings about stressful experiences”.
The third group
“wrote letters expressing gratitude to others”
along with counselling sessions. This last group incorporated gratitude writing in their health regimen
“reported significantly better mental health“ by four weeks and still at twelve weeks.2
God’s ways make sense. He knows what works.
So, start defeating anxiety in your life by daily Counting Your Blessings.
Father...I’m thankful for Your Word. It speaks right into my life with the same relevance to me as the people in Paul’s day. Defeat anxiety in my life as I express Thanksgiving to You and those around me. Let me experience Your peace when I focus my thoughts on Counting My Blessings and not my losses. In Jesus Name...Amen
If you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.
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- https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201211/the-grateful-brain Website Accessed: 2017-10-09
- http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10503307.2016.1169332?scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=tpsr20 Website Accessed: 2017-10-09
- Philippians 4:6-8
- Psalm 103:2
- Ephesians 5:20
- Psalm 118:1
YOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
MONDAY Monday Meditations – Laura J. Davis, Soul Survival – Donna Reidland,
TUESDAY Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
WEDNESDAY Coffee For Your Heart – Holley Gerth, Word Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms, Chasing Community – Barbara Bradford Ottinger
FRIDAY Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. Mead, Grace and Truth Linkup – Arabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell ELLEN’S PICKS– Ellen Graf-Martin