Well Being

Thankfulness, The Natural Drug

The winters in my corner of southwest Michigan are overcast and gray. Years ago I discovered I am prone to SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, where one’s mood is negatively impacted by lack of sunshine. Since this discovery, I’ve been careful to do things that naturally lift my mood during the winter months.

There are many things that will lift your mood, but one of the most powerful and natural ways to do so is by simply being thankful. Even for those who don’t struggle with SAD, being more thankful can strengthen spirituality, help mend a broken heart, and so on.

Here are a few ideas for living a more thankful and grateful life:

Pay Attention

Paying attention to the beauty in small details can help instill and renew a sense of awe in your heart. This is something you probably did really well as a kid. Try revisiting this pastime and attempt to notice underrated beauty: the patterns in a leaf, how the light at dusk hits your curtains, or the minuscule fibers stuck between the needles of a pine tree.

pine treeWrite It Down

Make a list of things you’re thankful for. I suggest that get very specific. It’s easy to thank the Lord for a meal or for the roof over our heads, but it’s a little more challenging to get specific. Try writing 10 things you are thankful for this week; “I’m thankful for the way my dog lays her head on my chest when we snuggle…” or, “I’m thankful for the way that smoked paprika complimented the Chili I made yesterday…”

Surround Yourself With Thankful People

We all have that one friend who does nothing but complain. Instead of trying desperately to hang onto these negative relationships (I’m so talking to myself right now…), try surrounding yourself with people who inspire you to be thankful. I have a friend Emily who is always noticing the beauty around her. On walks she’ll say something like, “Look at you Michigan sunset, you are so beautiful.” I love that she not only notices the positive details, but that she also verbalizes them. She inspires me to be more verbally affirming when I am around other’s as well.

 

Is it time for you to kick your thankfulness up a notch? Try out these practices and let me know how it goes!

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Frank Richardson December 12, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    God tells us to “Always give thanks”. We should always remember all that God does for us, and gives us to enjoy. I use my level of thankfulness as my spiritual thermometer. When I notice, (or others notice it of me!) a lack of thankfulness in me, I know that my mind is not where it should be.
    Also, I have learned that when God gives us commands, it is not only for His glory, but for our good! Think of how giving thanks is good for us. It changes our mindset. It helps us set our mind on others, and not ourselves.
    Thanks for the good reminder, Alison!

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