How is gratitude good for your well-being?

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    Showing gratitude has so many proven benefits—physical, mental, and emotional—that everyone should make it part of their daily life.

    How is gratitude good for your well-being?

    According to an article in the Harvard Mental Health Letter, “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

    The Bible encourages us to cultivate a spirit of gratitude. “Show yourselves thankful,” wrote the apostle Paul, who set a fine example himself. For instance, he ‘thanked God unceasingly’ for the positive response of others toward the message he shared with them. (Colossians 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:13) Lasting happiness comes not from merely saying thank you occasionally but from having a grateful disposition. That, in turn, protects us from feelings of entitlement, envy, and resentment, which would alienate people from us and rob us of joy in life.

    Our Creator himself has set a fine example in showing appreciation—even to mere humans! Hebrews 6:10 states: “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name.” Yes, our Creator considers it unrighteous, or unjust, to show a lack of gratitude.

    “Always be rejoicing. Give thanks for everything.”—1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18.

    How does gratitude improve our relationships with others?

    When we express sincere gratitude—whether for a gift, a kind word, or practical help—we make the giver feel valued and appreciated. Even strangers respond warmly to people who sincerely thank them for doing a kind deed, such as holding a door open.

    “Practice giving,” said Jesus Christ, “and people will give to you. They will pour into your laps a fine measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing.” (Luke 6:38) Consider the experience of Rose, a deaf girl in Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific.

    Rose attended the Christian meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses but got little benefit from them, since neither she nor anyone else in the congregation knew sign language. When a couple who were proficient sign-language interpreters visited the congregation and saw the problem, they started a sign-language class. Rose was deeply grateful. “I am happy to have so many friends who love me,” she said. Seeing her gratitude and watching her now participate in the meetings is more than enough reward for the couple who helped her. Rose also deeply appreciates the efforts that others made to learn sign language in order to communicate with her.—Acts 20:35.

    “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies [God].”—Psalm 50:23.

    How can you cultivate a grateful spirit?

    Our feelings are closely linked to our thoughts. The Bible writer David said in prayer to God: “I meditate on all your activity; I eagerly ponder over the work of your hands.” (Psalm 143:5) Yes, David was not a distracted, superficial person. His thankful spirit stemmed from his regular contemplation of God’s ways, a practice he cultivated all his life.—Psalm 71:5, 17.

    The Bible gives us this excellent advice: ‘Whatever things are true, lovable, well-spoken-of, virtuous, and praiseworthy—continue thinking about these things.’ (Philippians 4:8, footnote) The words “continue thinking about” point yet again to our need to have a thoughtful disposition, which is a prerequisite for a grateful spirit.

    “The meditation of my heart will show understanding.”—Psalm 49:3.


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