Whatever Happened to Gratitude?

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By Myrna Conrad

How often each day do you take the time to say “thank you” to someone? Did you take the time to thank your spouse today? Did you find something to thank your children for? When was the last time you thanked your supervisor, fellow employees, or those who work for you? What about those who wait on you at a restaurant, or in a store, or the cashier that checks you out at the grocery store? It only takes a moment to say “thank you” and you might just make someone’s day, maybe it’ll start to change your perspective as well.

My mother was in her 60s when she bought her first new car. She was so excited and appreciative of the help that the car salesman gave her, that she took him home-baked goodies periodically for the next six months. He was just doing his job, but she was grateful for his kindness and help in an area she had no prior experience. She not only said “thank you” but showed her gratitude.

When was the last time you thanked God? Ingratitude isn’t something new. In fact, Luke tells a story, in scripture, about Jesus healing 10 lepers and only one of them came back to say thank you. Can you imagine? Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) back in Biblical times was a disease that was incurable. People who had leprosy would have to leave everything and live outside the village in a place just for lepers. They were shunned and no one wanted to get near them. There was no hope for recovery and they were left to die in their misery.
However, Jesus completely healed them and gave them back their life, their families, and their hope. How could only one go back and thank Him?

Yet think of all of the blessings each of us receive everyday and fail to say “thank you.” We live in a country of abundance and yet there is so much depression and unhappiness. There are millions of people in the U.S. that suffer from depression. We get the very thing that we think will make us happy, then we are onto the next thing that we think we need or must have. The desire for more pulls us from a heart of gratitude.

After years of research, it has been determined that gratitude is a key to psychological well being, making people happier, improving their relationships, and even counteracting depression. Researcher Jeff Huffman states, “There is growing evidence that being grateful may not only bring good feelings, it could lead to better health, lowering blood pressure and strengthening the immune system.” Scientifically, it has to do with gratitude activating the parasympathetic, relaxing part of the nervous system. Some studies also have found that gratitude is good for the heart.

Do you want to develop a heart of gratitude? Here are a few strategies:

Be Aware:
Look back on your day to see if you had more of an attitude of grumbling or gratitude. There is always something to be thankful for.

Notice when someone is kind to you or does something for you and shows appreciation.
Notice how it feels when someone thanks you.

Be Intentional:
Start a journal and list several things you are thankful for each night before going to bed. It will probably improve your sleep and maybe even help you wake up with a better attitude.

Take notice of those in your family and all of the things they do for you. Tell them how thankful you are for them.

Pay attention to those you interact with each day and remember to say thank you.

Thank those in the service industry because it’s often a thankless profession.

Thank God every day for giving you life.

Gratitude starts with you! Choose an attitude of gratitude, it might just change your life.
P.S. Thank you for reading this article.