By: Shane Bender
Gratitude is a common theme among leadership and personal development books lately. Nearly two years ago when I started my business, I used The Freedom Journal to journal, track, and launch a sustainable and profitable business. The journal was for 100 days. The first step in the morning was to write down something I was grateful for. At the end of the day, I would write down two wonderful things that happened no matter what happened that day. Believe me, there were days I struggled to think of something.
As a Christ follower, I know that being grateful is not a new concept. It has been taught for thousands of years. There are many verses in the Bible about being content, thankful, and grateful. There are 3 short verses in the Bible that are a great reminder of how to live.
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Keeping this in mind, how do we develop a habit of thankfulness or gratitude? Here are 5 ideas to consider.
5 Ways to Stay Grateful
1. Limit your Media
Have you ever felt frustrated or annoyed after watching the news or scrolling down posts on Facebook? It is difficult to feel grateful after seeing all the horrible atrocities happening in the world. Facebook has become a place for people to post everything that is great in their life. It is easy to fall into the comparison trap and start thinking about what we don’t have. If watching the news, reading the paper, or scrolling through social media increases anxiety and frustration, then it is probably not worth doing, especially during your relaxation time.
2. Write It Down
There are benefits to journaling things you are grateful for. A habit of doing this each morning or before you go to bed has a positive psychological effect. It is also good to read through this journal later when you are having a bad day or week.
3. Thank Others Specifically
This is really much easier than you think. With texting and email, it really doesn’t take much time. The encouragement can go a long way with people, especially when you are specific. Of course, it is always good to encourage and thank others in person or in written letters or cards.
4. Stay Humble
Pride and self-entitlement make it difficult to be grateful. How can we stay humble? There is a story in Genesis about Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers. Later he was accused of making sexual advances toward his owner’s wife and thrown into prison for 2 years. He could have become bitter, but he trusted God, stayed humble, and made the most of the situation. He eventually rose quickly to a very powerful position in Egypt, second in command only to Pharoah. By staying humble and knowing his place before God, he was lifted up to a place of much authority and influence.
5. Consider the Benefits
If everything above was not convincing enough, there are many physical, social, and emotional benefits of gratitude. Some benefits include the following:
- More optimistic attitude
- Increased self-esteem
- Better sleep
- Increased energy
- More friendships
- Better marriage
- Improved decision making
- Increased productivity
Check out more benefits at “The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life”.
As Thanksgiving is getting closer, let’s consider how we can practice more gratitude throughout the year. It just may be this key habit that makes all the difference in your life.