I hope we all agree that gratitude is good. Psychologists tell us gratitude is good for our minds. In fact research has shown that those who have high levels of gratitude in their lives are less prone to depression and have a greater feeling of well being. More and more we come to realise the connectedness of mind, body and soul. Being grateful people helps us feel better, and be more optimistic and positive in our relationships.
The faiths of the world, and not least Christianity, encourage people to be grateful. The Bible encourages people to be people of gratitude.
The worship of the Church throughout time calls us to ‘lift up our heart’ and give thanks.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5.18) Give thanks – be grateful. Show gratitude. There is always, even at the darkest times, something to give thanks for. If we face the light and give thanks shadows fall behind us. If we turn our backs to the light the shadows are in front of us.
I’m sure we’d all love to develop our spirit of gratitude. We can begin to do that now. Here are some simple and straightforward suggestions for you to adapt to your situation.
First of all, take some time, each day if you can, to name some things you are grateful for. To help you at first you may choose to think of three things. It may also help to do this at the same time of the day – when you brush your teeth, or just as you lie down to sleep. In this way gratitude can build up in you and become a part of you.
It’s good to start with three things – and they can be very simple things – my pet, the warmth I have, my partner, my food today… To begin with they may be the same things each day.
Secondly, it will help too to write them down. Not in a hurried way like you may write down things you have to remember, but rather slowly and in a thinking way. One by one, writing them down and at the end saying a simple thank you prayer.
Thirdly, connect with others more in your thanking. Send an e-mail, a card, a text thanking people for things, and if you can mention why it is you are grateful. Tell others of what you are grateful for. Listen to others as they thank you.
Finally – keep at it! Persevere in gratitude. It will be easier some days than others. When you hear those words, at Mass or elsewhere, ‘let us give thanks’ let them remind you to be a person of gratitude.