September 9, 2020

Gratitude: A Healthy State of Mind

Photo courtesy of Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."--1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

My most popular article discusses the benefits of gratitude here. I published it over a year and a half ago. I’ve decided to do a follow-up post due to reader feedback and requests. Obviously, the subject is close to the heart of many. We’re talking about a sentiment that’s important to our spiritual, mental, and physical health. Want to learn more? Here you go…
Definitions of Gratitude

Google dictionary: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Merriam Webster:  the state of being grateful: Thankfulness

“The Harvard Medical School provides more detail, writing that gratitude is: ‘a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives … As a result, gratitude is also a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation
“Gratitude is an emotion we feel in response to receiving something good which is undeserved”
“It is the appreciation felt after one has been the beneficiary of an altruistic act”
“In summary, gratitude is a positive emotion felt after being the beneficiary of some sort of gift. It is also a social emotion often directed towards a person (the giver of a gift) or felt towards a higher power.”
The Need for Gratitude

If we want more of anything, we should demonstrate thankfulness for our current resources. It just makes sense:
  • Parents might not want to reward whiny kids or grandkids.
  • Teachers appreciate students who listen and show respect.
  • Cashiers at stores are often more polite with customers who are kind to them.
  • God kept the Israelites from entering the Promised Land with Moses right away. A 26-day journey ended up taking 40 years. The newly freed slaves constant complaining was one of the main reasons for the delay.

Benefits of Gratitude

“Positive psychology defines gratitude in a way where scientists can measure its effects, and thus argue that gratitude is more than feeling thankful: it is a deeper appreciation for someone (or something) that produces longer lasting positivity.”
“…research has found neurological reasons why so many people can benefit from this general practice of expressing thanks for our lives, even in times of challenge and change. “
A grateful state of mind also improves other areas of our lives. It guides us towards meaning and better health. Individuals are able to connect to something larger than themselves--whether to other people, nature, or a higher power

My Conclusion
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” --Ralph Waldo Emerson cited from


“One of the best things about thankfulness is that the more you choose it, the easier it gets. The more you profess gratitude, the more you notice things to be grateful for. The thankfulness muscles respond to exercise!”

“When the peace of Christ rules in our hearts, thankfulness overflows. Even in the darkest of times, we can praise God for his love, his sovereignty, and his promise to be near us when we call (Psalm 145:18).”

What are you grateful for today?


  1. We hear many examples showing us how important gratitude and the attitude of gratitude is -- we cannot talk about it enough. Glad to share your thoughts as this message is crucial.

  2. Carol Graham, I agree we can't talk about gratitude enough. It's so crucial to our minds, our bodies, and our spirituality.