1 Thessalonians 5:18
In all circumstances, give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Today is Thanksgiving, a day that’s been warped by “progressives” and their willing accomplices in the Hate America Media into America’s penultimate day of white guilt.
Little known by Americans is the fact that Thanksgiving has its origins as an explicitly religious, Christian holiday. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official national holiday to thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed on America. (See “The true meaning of Thanksgiving: A Christian holiday to thank God“)
As America increasingly is secularized, have you noticed how Americans correspondingly became uncivil, rude, and callous? Manners seem to have fallen by the wayside, dismissed as “old fashioned” or vilified as “patriarchal”. Worse still, too many Americans have become downright cruel and evil. (See, for example, “What is wrong with people? Father fundraising for sick child finds ‘let the baby die’ sign“)
Not only is it right and proper to thank God and the people in our lives for the good and kindness they’ve given us, being thankful actually benefits us in at least seven scientifically-proven ways:
(1) Gratitude is good for our physical health:
Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health — they exercise more often and are more likely to get regular check-ups.
(2) Gratitude is good for our psychological health:
Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, found that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.
(3) Gratitude reduces stress and makes us more resilient:
For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma by making us more resilient:
- A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – also fosters resilience, enabling you to better withstand trauma and stress. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the 9/11 attacks.
(4) Grateful people sleep better:
Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed helps you sleep better and longer.
(5) Gratitude opens the door to friendship
Showing appreciation to other people can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship.
(6) Gratitude improves self-esteem:
- A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance.
- Other studies have shown that gratitude makes us better able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments, and reduces the toxic social comparisons that makes us resentful toward people who seem to have more — money, beauty, better jobs, better health, more friends — than we have.
(7) Gratitude is good for society by enhancing empathy and reducing aggression:
Grateful people are more likely to behave in a pro-social manner according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were sensitive and empathic toward other people; less vengeful; and less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback.
On this Thanksgiving Day, say “Thank You” to God and to your family, friends, colleagues, and especially those who provide a service for you, such as the janitor in your office building, your handyman, your gardener, or if you are elderly or infirm, your caregiver.
I will now make a list of all the many, many things for which I am grateful. I invite you to make a list as well!
Top on my list is the new family that God has graced me — my two precious kittens whose innocence reminds me there’s good in the world, and who fill my days with joy and their unalloyed love.