Thanksgiving isn't the only time of the year you can express gratitude and show thankfulness.
Appreciating every moment is something we can all put into practice. Not only are we called to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), but an attitude of gratitude can actually improve your quality of life. According to Psychology Today, practicing thankfulness promotes physical health, facilitates contentment, enhances sleep, and encourages generosity.
We see the concept and power of gratitude play out in the Christian movie “Saved By Grace,” currently streaming on Pure Flix. In a chance encounter two strangers, Grace and Rick, spend Thanksgiving Day together. At one point in the film, Grace and Rick remind one another to be grateful for the good things in their lives, despite the suffering they have both endured. In the midst of the conversation, Grace exclaims, "Maybe that's why God brought us together - to appreciate every moment we have!"
However, practicing gratitude is easier said than done. If you’re looking to reap the benefits of giving thanks in all circumstances, here are some tips to help you cultivate a spirit of gratitude in your life.
How to Harness the Power of Gratitude
Either throughout the day or at the end of the day, write down what you are thankful for. Dr. Robert Emmons, gratitude researcher and psychology professor at the University of California, Davis says that five to 10 minutes is enough.
“You really need to commit to doing it,” Dr. Emmons told the Huffington Post. “And if you write it down, eventually, it will become more automatic.”
2. Live in the Moment
When we practice mindfully living in the moment, we are fully present to our surroundings. The next time you eat, really taste what you’re eating. When you walk outside, breathe in the air around you, notice the sights, the smells, and sounds. Appreciate the little ways God shows Himself in His creation.
3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Comparing ourselves to others only makes us feel like we don’t add up. But the truth is everyone is made in the image of God and possess their own talents. You are enough, so be grateful for the gift you are to God by simply being you.
4. Speak Positively
Always speak in ways that are kind and gentle. If you find yourself saying something negative, counter it right away with a positive statement.
5. Have Others Join You
Ask a friend to keep a gratitude journal with you. Not only will it keep you accountable, but hearing his or her list will be even more things for you to be thankful for.
When we use our talents to help others, it not only boosts our self-confidence, it spreads the love of Christ. Plus, there are studies that prove volunteering can boost your mood and help with depression.
7. Spend Time With People Who Are Grateful
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn tells us that we are the average of the five people we spend most of our time with. If you’re spending time with people who are negative or cynical, include more positive people in your social circle. Don’t be surprised if you find that your grateful friends are some of the happiest you know.
Justina Miller grew up as a full time musician in a band with her sister. At eighteen she took her creativity to a University setting where she studied poetry at George Mason University and Oxford University in England. After college, Justina worked in campus ministry leadership with FOCUS at Vanderbilt University. There, she mentored students while fundraising her entire salary.
Justina went on to volunteer at an orphanage in India, and came back to the states to run conferences for FOCUS. In 2012, she returned to her musical roots to perform in DC as a jazz singer and maintained freelance writing gigs for columns, copywriting, screenplays, and ghostwriting for a major publication.
Recently, Justina has settled in New York City where she performs in local venues, continues to freelance, and runs crowdfunding, email marketing, and social media management for the Chiaroscuro Foundation.