Gratitude

How to Grow Gratitude for Jesus

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I’ve been exploring the importance of feeling and expressing more gratefulness in our lives (Gratitude Post). Scientists are discovering how an attitude of gratitude is essential for health, relationships, as well as spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing. I love it when science starts figuring out what God has proclaimed. There are 35 verses in the Bible encouraging a heart of gratitude.

But how can we grow more gratitude? Dr. Alison Chen, a naturopathic doctor, writes in a recent Huffington Post article that creating a nightly gratitude ritual is a powerful strategy. She suggests taking a few minutes at the end of each day to stop and reflect, as a great way to bring about more feelings of gratefulness in your life.

Chen’s other suggestions include:

•        Write thank-you notes: Whether in response to a gift or kind act, or simply as a show of gratitude for someone being in your life, getting into the habit of writing thank-you letters can help you express gratitude in addition to simply feeling it inside. The most powerful letter to write is to God, expressing your gratitude helps you draw closer. This process helps us to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and place ourselves properly.

•        Nonverbal actions: This includes smiles and hugs, both of which can express a wide array of messages, from encouragement and excitement to empathy and support. We do these nonverbal actions with those we can touch. Nonverbal actions with Our Lord are primarily prayer and communion. This is a discipline that impacts us greatly. Taking the time to sit in silence before the Lord in a posture of gratitude aligns us for the day and season of our life.

Expressing thanks during moments of reflection is another way to cultivate gratitude. While prayer often starts our day, reflection often is a part of the day or a way we may bring our day to a close. I often think of this as praying without ceasing. Practicing "mindfulness" means that you're actively paying attention to the moment you're in right now. You can sit quietly and focus on something that you're grateful for, such as a pleasant smell, a cool breeze, or a memory. Mindfulness of people and God creates awareness and heightens the beauty we are in. It is the concept of being present!

Perhaps the most powerful way to move into a mindfulness of gratitude is to make a declaration. Tell 3 people that you are working on developing an attitude of gratitude. Ask if you can share your journey and if they would help you. Do the same with Jesus! Share with the Lord that you want to grow your gratitude. This is a space that I am certain you will receive. The Lord says “seek” and you will find. He promises to give us the desires of our heart.

Is your heart’s desire to be more grateful?

If you want to see the touch of God spend 30 days seeking gratefulness and I guarantee you God will show up!

Take a couple minutes each day to stop and reflect. Taking regular pause is an excellent way to bring about more feelings of gratefulness in your life. Apparently, it doesn’t matter if we do this through silent meditation, or in conversation with others. I believe both is best. Make it a part of your desired growth. As a coach (www.moleadershipcoaching.com) I work in this area regularly.  

What are you doing to pay attention to this key emotion and to cultivate an attitude of gratitude? I’d love to hear from you I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

Developing Gratitude with the ACTS Habit

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In my previous post (Attitude of Gratitude) I described the various benefits that cultivating an attitude of gratitude brings to our lives. But let’s explore this further. What actually is gratitude?

Robert Emmons, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and expert on gratitude, says that gratitude has two key components:

1.      An affirmation of goodness: When you feel gratitude, you affirm that you live in a benevolent world. God is good!

2.      A recognition that the source of this goodness comes from outside of yourself: You acknowledge that other people and specifically Jesus provide you with "gifts" that improve your life in some way.

According to Emmons, gratitude is "a relationship-strengthening emotion, because it requires us to see how we've been supported and affirmed by other people." That emotion is LOVE.

Gratitude and Health

One area of life that is easy to take for granted or forget to be grateful for is health – sometimes until it's too late.

We tend to take our health for granted until we're suddenly in the throes of pain or a debilitating illness... If you have good health and all your mental faculties intact, you also have the prerequisite basics for doing something about the less satisfactory situations in your life. ~ Dr. Joseph Mercola, physician and wellness expert.

Often health is a bridge back to the foundation for all thankfulness, God. It is in the losses of life that we recognize the greatest gift and the amazing gift Giver.

How to Cultivate Gratitude

First, start by cultivating gratitude for the little things, which will foster a more deep-seated sense of happiness. Like a muscle, your sense of gratitude can be strengthened with practice, each time you express it.

There is no better way to build your gratitude muscle than to start your day than with connecting with God from a position of gratitude. Using the model of ACTS is simple and powerful.

A – Adoration – Lord you are the almighty and I adore you. How many ways can you adore the Lord?

C – Confession – Lord – I present to you these areas of my life that are off course. Be specific! Recognizing that your confession connect you with the Almighty leads to…..

T – Thankfulness – Lord I am grateful for Your Forgiveness, life, relationships, nature, Your Word – add more – Write down what you are thankful for!

S – Supplication – Now is your time to ask for what you need. Lord, here is what is on my heart and where I need Your Presence.

Try the ACTS prayer discipline for ONE WEEK and see how your attitude changes and how much lighter your life becomes.

Consider creating a personal journal to share thoughts and insights with yourself, all the while helping you move through problems and come to solutions. There are now a number of digital apps that allow you to journal from anywhere at any time.

In his Beginner’s Guide to Digital Journaling, Bakari Chavanu lists his four favorite apps, including Penzu, which allows you to express your most private thoughts by providing password protection (for both your journal and individual entries).

What are you doing to pay attention to this important idea of the power of an attitude of gratitude?

I’d love to hear from you I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

Do you have an attitude of Gratitude

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Do you regularly express gratitude? It turns out that an "attitude of gratitude" is not only wise for building positive relationships, but good for your health.

"If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world's best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system," Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, expert in brain and mind health.

There are more reasons than you think for expressing gratitude. Beside the positive effects on health, gratitude brings about an increased ability to cope with stress, anxiety, and sleep problems.

Studies have shown that gratitude can produce measurable effects on a number of systems in your body, including:

·       Mood neurotransmitters

·       Reproductive hormones

·       Blood sugar

·       Blood pressure and cardiac rhythms

·       Stress hormones

·       Inflammatory and immune systems

·       Cognitive neurotransmitters

If you take your well-being seriously, you may want to increase the frequency at which you feel and express gratitude.

The Study of Gratitude

Traditionally, psychologists have focused on understanding distress rather than positive emotions. However, with the current focus on Positive Psychology, scientists are now looking at gratitude to understand the experience of the emotion, individual differences in frequency, and the relationship between these two aspects.

Some studies have looked at the connection between spirituality and gratitude. There is a link between those who regularly attend religious services and people who experience a greater sense of gratitude in all areas of life.

So much of the Bible points readers towards gratitude in verses like:

2 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Imagine that the will of God for all of us is to give thanks, be grateful. God’s will is for our best and our best rises when we are grounded in an attitude of gratitude.

Psalm 136:1  “This is the day the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it!”

Researchers have also looked at the obstacles to gratitude and found self-absorption and entitlement as impediments. 

When you are preoccupied with yourself, it is easy to forget your benefits and benefactors.

With an attitude of “I deserve this,” or “you owe me,” or “life owes me,” grievances will always outnumber blessings.

According to Mark T. Mitchell, professor of political science at Patrick Henry College in Virginia:

Gratitude is born of humility, for it acknowledges the giftedness of the creation and the benevolence of a Creator. This recognition gives birth to acts marked by attention and responsibility. Ingratitude, on the other hand, is marked by hubris, which denies the gift, and this always leads to inattention, irresponsibility, and abuse.

The power of gratitude is accessible to all. Given the important link to health and wellbeing, it makes sense to increase our experience of feeling grateful.

What are you doing to pay attention to this key emotion and to cultivate an attitude of gratitude? I’d love to hear from you. Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn

or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple