I have a file labeled: When Science Catches Up with Scripture. All kinds of stories find their way into that file; from law, medicine, the natural sciences, child rearing, business, archeology, and psychology. To qualify, the story must record observations or research on a topic—that’s the science part—that “discover” something already revealed in the Bible. I get a chuckle out of these stories because most of them sound so, “Aha! We’ve found something totally new!” But to those of us familiar with Scripture, they sound like children celebrating when the square block fits the square hole.
I hope to write a book about it one day and if I do the power of gratitude will be one of the chapters.
U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT reported on it in 2001 with HAPPINESS EXPLAINED. Harvard Medical School ran a story titled, IN PRAISE OF GRATITUDE in 2011. And BE THANKFUL: Science says gratitude is good for your health, appeared on the Today Show in 2015.
Much of the research on the topic has been performed by Dr. Michael C. McCollough, of the University of Miami, and Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis. A few of their findings on the practice of gratitude include better sleep, lowered blood pressure, and better immune systems. Other researchers found the habit of gratitude associated with less fatigue, lower inflammation, and healthier heart rhythms.
Or, as Scripture has it: A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.  That’s the Scripture part (and many more where that came from) written over three thousand years ago 😉
But key words in the reports are “habit” and “practice.” Like physical workouts, the benefits of gratefulness come only to those who exercise their gratitude muscles often. Want to bench-press some of those benefits into your life? Try these routines:
Journal your gratitude. Write down five things per week for which you are grateful. The process forces us to pause and think about the good things in our lives and writing makes a permanent record to help us remember. That’s a good thing!
Write thank-you notes. It cheers up others as it increases our gratitude quotient. Win-Win!
Thank your mate daily. Husbands and wives who thank their spouses for the little things have less trouble working through problems in their marriages. Find specific things to thank them for and do it daily.
Compare down, not up, and give something away. It’s easy to find people more privileged and envy them. Most advertisements are designed to make us unhappy with what we have so that we’ll buy something else. But those are gratitude killers. Contentment comes to those who realize how good they have it and share their abundance with others less fortunate.
And of course, pray your gratitude. Prayer is the greatest gratitude cultivator of all.
Happy thanks-giving! It’s better than medicine!