Brief summary of show:
In this episode, I'm opening up about a challenging year in my life. It's been tough, but I want to share how faith in God and the practice of gratitude have been my guiding lights. We live in a world where negativity often overshadows positivity. It can be hard to stay thankful, which is why I want to talk about the power of gratitude. For me, faith and gratitude are intertwined, helping me face difficulties. Gratitude, in my view, goes beyond saying "thank you."I won't pretend that being thankful is always easy, especially in challenging times. It's a choice. We can either blame and complain or seek wisdom and growth. The choice is ours. And, there's scientific evidence that supports the positive impact of gratitude on the brain.
I’ll be sharing some practical tips for incorporating gratitude into your daily life
Listen in as we talk about:
- Introduction (00:17)
- The Power of Gratitude (00:49)
- What is Gratitude? (01:39)
- Biblical Perspective (02:03)
- Choosing Gratitude (03:01)
- Counting Blessings (04:06)
- Scientific Evidence of Gratitude (04:50)
- Practical Tips for Practicing Gratitude (06:27)
- Challenges for Practicing Gratitude (08:20)
- Closing Thoughts and Call to Action (10:13)
Notes from Natalie:
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View Transcript for this Episode
Hi friends and welcome. Today's podcast is just me and I wanna talk about gratitude. I have some things that I wanna share with you in the coming weeks, what's been going on in my life and with my family. And I'm gonna be honest, it has been more than a rough year. But you know what's gotten me through? God and gratitude.
We live in a world where negativity seems to be more prevalent than any type of positivity, and it can be hard to stay thankful. That's why I wanted to take the time today and open up a conversation about gratitude and how it can help us in our day-to-day lives and in the hardships that we have. The purpose of this podcast is to find light, and for me, that's my faith. I am so grateful for a God who loves me and a God who sees past all of my mistakes and still believes in me. And that is the case for you too. I really want to emphasize that today. No matter what situation you are in, no matter what, God loves you. So let's go a little bit deeper today. What is gratitude? Well, gratitude is the quality of being thankful or showing appreciation for what one has as opposed to simply desiring more.
It's a recognition of value independent of monetary worth. When we express gratitude, we recognize all that we have, big and small, and we acknowledge our dependence on others. We acknowledge our dependence on God. We acknowledge the world around us. So let's go to the Bible.
In the Bible, we learn about gratitude in many places. We hear about thankfulness. But in the book of Colossians, Colossians 3, 15 through 17 tells us, let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body, you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through Psalms. hymns and spiritual songs singing to God with gratitude in your hearts, gratitude. And whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. So the concept of being thankful and having gratefulness, it is repeated throughout scripture. It serves really as a reminder that even though we've been given every blessing from God, many blessings from God, we should still be grateful for life and all of the wonderful things in it. And I'm not going to pretend even for a minute that being thankful and grateful is easy. In fact, when times get tough, it is so much easier to blame everyone, to blame everything else. But here's the thing. We have a choice and that choice is to kick and scream and blame and cry. or to stop and pray, to ask for wisdom, to grow and learn from every situation, because there is a reason for our struggle. You know, without it, with only happy times, we would never learn the lessons that shape us, the lessons that give us purpose. And sometimes that purpose isn't what we thought it would be.
No matter how terrible things can seem to be, I can always stop and find something to be grateful for. It might be as simple as the sunshine, the breath in my lungs, the ability to get up out of bed each day, my children. You know, this past year I focused on those things and God has been good. My children are thriving, praise God. My marriage, while it could have easily fallen apart, is stronger than ever.
And I want to share more of all of that what's been happening. And I promise just as soon as I can, I will, because I am so grateful for the body of Christ and the people around me who have helped me through. But for now, I want you to know that we're OK. And when one door closes and when we listen, God always provides. He's going to turn a tragedy into something beautiful if we let Him. And that's exactly what has happened for us.
So for now, let me just encourage you in your own journey. When it comes to facing adversity, and when it comes to facing spiritual warfare, which often comes in the form of adversity, there is hope. If we look now at some of what's behind gratitude, I think you're gonna find it interesting. Let's look at the scientific evidence. It's clear that cultivating an attitude of thankfulness has a positive effects on our brains.
Research indicates that gratitude activates certain areas of the brain associated with happiness, also associated with contentment and social bonding. For example, one study found that when the participants of this study wrote down the things that they were grateful for, their hippocampus, which controls emotion regulation, more than those who wrote down things that made them unhappy. So let me give you some ways today to practice gratitude in your life every day. Start by thanking God for everything He has given you. First thing when you wake up. Second, speak out loud to Him what you're grateful for, whether it be a sunrise. God thank you for the beautiful sunrise. Maybe a hug from your child. The ability to go for a walk.
Also, find joy in the simple things like watching a sunset, listening just to the birds sing. It might require you to turn off those distractions. We know there are so many of them around us, like our technology, so that you can actually take the time to appreciate these things. Fourth, get creative with thankfulness, like writing a song, drawing a picture of something that makes you happy. Fifth, give thanks to others in your life. Maybe it's family, maybe it's friends, maybe it's your neighbor, maybe it's a stranger. Showing kindness and appreciation to other people, that builds relationships. And those relationships are so important and they're rewarding for everyone involved. And sixth, practice mindfulness. Take a few moments throughout the day to be aware of just how you're feeling. And thank God for that calmness you have. And seventh, remind yourself daily that all of your blessings, they come from him. And this is gonna help keep everything in perspective and give purpose to each day. And then lastly, my eighth tip, pray with an attitude of thankfulness, thankful for all that he's done. Another way I have found helpful to pray is to be thankful first, always in your prayers, then ask for what you need or what you desire.
So let me give you a few challenges. I gave you eight tips, but let me give you some challenges to help you in your gratitude practice. And these are things that I've been working on over the last year. Each day, write down three things that you're grateful for. Maybe it's in a gratitude journal, maybe it's just on a piece of paper. Next, make it a point each day to thank someone, either face to face or maybe through an email or a text, but to thank someone. And then take time to reflect on the past week.
and think of one thing you are thankful for from that last week. Also create a habit of sending thank you cards or notes to friends, family, colleagues. I've gotten better at that this year. Maybe these are people who have helped you in some small way.
And lastly, identify something that you can do to help someone else and commit to doing that every single day. I know it's a lot, but I promise you will feel the benefits of this. When you're going through something hard or when you're so busy that you can't even see above water, do you know how that feels? I know this might seem like a lot and it might be more on your plate, but it will be worth the effort because these are proven ways to help yourself.
And after going through the hardest year of my life, I can tell you it was leaning on God, knowing he has a plan, and then finding a way to see the light through gratitude versus the dark in a difficult situation.
I hope that this has given you ideas and maybe some inspiration. And by the way, I have a new way that I'd love to hear from you. Go to the show notes in the podcast or the link on my Instagram page and leave me a voice message with how this podcast has inspired you or helped you. You don't have to leave your name, of course, but you're welcome to, if you'd like to. I would love to hear how you've been inspired or how the practice of gratefulness is helping you. Or if you have another question you'd like to ask me, go for it. Leave me a voicemail. My goal is to provide inspiration, motivation, and practical tips to support you in living a healthy life fueled by faith. Until next week, keep being grateful and remember God has a plan for you.