“Gratitude means thanks and appreciation…. [It] comes from the Latin word gratus, which means “thankful, pleasing.” When you feel gratitude, you’re pleased by what someone did for you and also pleased by the results. Unlike indebtedness, you’re not anxious about having to pay it back.” (www.vocabulary.com). When I chose the word gratitude for 2022, I chose to be intentional in my attitude of thanksgiving. This simple focus changes the view of every situation. Some days are busy, with much to do. While we all have the same amount of hours in a day, we don’t all have the same talents or tasks in a day. Gratitude is the antidote for mounting anxiety when the day feels like “too much” to handle.
Creating an attitude of gratitude starts one action at a time. Remind yourself of your blessings. List them. Count them if you can. Start simply – if you have a safe place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear you are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population! Expressing gratitude even changes your brain! Those who tap into gratitude experience less depression and anxiety, better sleep, and an overall improved attitude. Even before neuroscience, scripture repeatedly points out that thanksgiving is the antithesis of worry and anxiety.
This focus has not magically made my life “all better” with no anxiety or perfect days. This focus requires intention as I go through my day. I begin the day thankful for a new day. I wake up in my cozy bed in my stable house and thank God. I fix my coffee and read my Bible with gratitude. I teach my children, listen to them play and learn, talk to them about life, and I’m in awe that I get to be a part of their lives! Each day is better than the one before, because I choose to have a thankful heart. As Junior Asparagus sang, “A thankful heart is a happy heart. I’m glad for what I have, that’s an easy way to start.”