Defeating Anxiety By Counting Your Blessings

Counting My Blessings

Gratitude journalThis 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.

Philippians 4:6-8

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.

Prayer

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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  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201211/the-grateful-brain Website Accessed: 2017-10-09
  2. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10503307.2016.1169332?scroll=top&needAccess=true&journalCode=tpsr20 Website Accessed: 2017-10-09

 DRAWING FROM THE WELL-PINKY 

  1. Philippians 4:6-8
  2. Psalm 103:2
  3. Ephesians 5:20
  4. Psalm 118:1

Blogger Prayers-Pinky BrownYOU 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 GerthWord Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
THURSDAY Heart Encouragement Thursday – Crystal Storms, Chasing Community  Barbara Bradford Ottinger
FRIDAY Dance With Jesus Linkup – Susan B. MeadGrace and Truth Linkup – Arabah JoyCounting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market Friday – Crystal Twaddell ELLEN’S PICKS– Ellen Graf-Martin

Comments(16)

  1. Liz says

    YES!!! Science is constantly proving the Bible true… if we’d just look rightly! XOXO

    • Sherry Stahl says

      Liz, it absolutely is 🙂

  2. Michele Morin says

    The Simple Show podcast just did an interview with Max Lucado on his new book Anxious for Nothing that focused on these verses you shared today. It was excellent. I’ve read those verses for ages, but he shared insights and applications that were fresh. Here’s the link: http://theartofsimple.net/podcast/anxious/

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    • Sherry Stahl says

      Michele,
      Thanks for sharing. It’s so great when you’re on the same wave length as inspiring authors such as Max 🙂 lol. I can’t wait to listen to the podcast. He is one of my all time fave writers.
      ~Sherry
      xoxo

  3. Stephanie ReadsWell says

    I consider “Thanksgiving day” as an opportunity to fix up certain issues. I always feel thankful to my hubby, child, relatives, and friends. I thank them to be always with me.

    • Sherry Stahl says

      Stephanie,
      Thanksgiving day is a great day to recalibrate your life 🙂
      Have a blessed week.
      ~Sherry
      xoxo

  4. Lisa notes says

    Unfortunately, I’m familiar with anxiety. So I do agree with you that gratitude is a great antidote. I just need to remember to do it more often! Thanks for the reminder, Sherry.

    • Sherry Stahl says

      Lisa,
      I hear ya girl! I have to be intentional or it doesn’t happen.
      Have a blessed week.
      ~Sherry
      xoxo

  5. KellyRBaker says

    Happy belated Thanksgiving. I love how science backs God’s Word, too. I’ll have to remember this to add to my meditating on Isa. 26:3 when I’m awake at night. 🙂

    • Sherry Stahl says

      Kelly,
      Forget Counting Sheep…Count Your Blessings 🙂 That would be a good title for another post! Have a blessed week.
      ~Sherry
      xoxo

  6. Crystal Storms says

    Happy belated Thanksgiving, Sherry! I love how you didn’t let your family stop your plan of incorporating ways of giving thanks. You found a way that would work for all of you. You lived out how counting your blessings gave you fresh ideas for them to count their blessings. Thank you for sharing how living with gratitude impacts all that we do!

    • Sherry Stahl says

      Thanks Crystal 🙂 You are such a sweet, encouraging friend!
      ~Sherry
      xoxo

  7. Brenda says

    sherry, I love that you keep a journal each Thanksgiving like that. What a beautiful legacy to leave for the generations who come long after y’all. Do you keep the same book and bring it back year after year, or a different one each year? — And, God always makes sense, doesn’t He? No arbitrary rules for the sake of rules, but rules that nourish and protect us. Leave it to God to make the act of gratitude a gift itself. 🙂 Two for the price of one. 🙂 (And, love that you’re doing a daily list too, friend.) xoxo

    • Sherry Stahl says

      Brenda,
      It’s the same book year after year and many like to review it each Thanksgiving. I loved your thankful post today!
      ~Sherry
      xoxo

  8. Theresa Boedeker says

    You are making me hungry for Thanksgiving fare. Love it that counting our blessings has so many benefits. I know it works in my life. When I start looking for the positive / blessings I just keep seeing more and more. The same is true for the negatives. Find one, and begin to notice lots of others.

    • Sherry Stahl says

      Theresa,
      You’re so right! We have to CHOOSE to focus our thoughts on thankful things.
      ~Sherry
      xoxo

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