2018-11-23 / Chaplain's News

Thanksgiving and gratitude

Chaplain (Capt.) Loren “Greg” Sink
442nd Signal Battalion

It’s a wonderful time of year to do as the old hymns says, “Count your blessings; name them one by one.”

There are so many benefits to being thankful and cultivating an attitude of gratitude.

The benefits can be experienced spiritually, physically and otherwise.

Being thankful and counting your blessings is something worth doing regularly, not just during the month of November.

Some beloved scriptures instruct us in this regard. Philippians 4:6-9 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. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

These verses teach us that being thankful along with prayer and focusing positive things can result in experiencing a peace that only comes from God.

What a blessing in and of itself to experience God’s peace – something that transcends even difficult life circumstances.

I Thessalonians 5:18, a verse from another New Testament letter, even commands us to be thankful. It says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Being thankful is part of God’s decreed will for our lives.

Over the years, there have been many studies and articles written about the various benefits of being thankful and having a positive outlook on life. On April 3, 2015, Psychology Today posted an online article written by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist, titled, “7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude.”

The article addresses how being grateful leads to benefits in the areas of relationships, physical, psychological and emotional health, as well as sleep.

People who tend to be more grateful are more relational and more open to developing additional relationships. Grateful people are generally healthier and feel better, which also enhances relationships.

To the contrary, people who are full of negative energy and as a result may not feel as well, are generally more difficult to get along with.

Gratitude also enhances one’s psychological health thus reducing numerous other negative emotions including depression. A healthier psychological predisposition usually leads to a higher degree of happiness.

Being grateful and therefore likely less stressed can greatly improve the quality of one’s sleep, which in and of itself has huge benefits that impact many of these same areas of life. Being thankful and filled with gratitude also causes people to be much more resilient as they face life’s various challenges.

In closing, I wish you not only a Thanksgiving season, but a life filled with thanksgiving and gratitude!

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