How healthy are you going into this holiday season?
While you can try to steer clear of germs, pump up the antioxidants, and even get your flu shots, one of the healthiest habits you can cultivate is to express a grateful heart. That's right. Numerous studies exist showing a direct relationship between a positive attitude and improved health (and even a longer life!). To be positive, in short, means to be grateful. To find the good in the bad. To be thankful in all things.
I'm sure God had our physical, as well as spiritual, health in mind when he inspired the Apostle Paul to write: "In everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Did you catch that? In everything give thanks. In the good times, as well as the bad. In the pleasantries of life, as well as in the pain. During difficult times, trying times, and frustrating times, too. When we're thanking God, we're focused on our blessings, rather than the bitterness of whatever else might be going on.
With the holidays coming, it's easy to get stressed, so all the more reason to be a person of gratitude rather than bad attitude. I've found in my own life, that when I'm praising God in the pain - or just thanking him during the mundane - it helps me become a person of gratitude in any circumstance. And that keeps me healthier and happier, over all.
Here are some simple prayers you can begin saying now to practice gratitude when the bad attitude starts seeping in to steal your joy, harm your relationships, and attack your health:
Thank you, God for the times You have said "no." They have helped me depend on You so much more.
Thank you, God, for unanswered prayer. It reminds me that You know what's best for me, even when my opinion differs from Yours.
Thank You, Lord, for the things you have withheld from me. You have protected me from what I may never realize.
Thank You, God, for the doors You have closed. They have prevented me from going where You would rather not have me go.
Thank you, Lord, for the physical pain You've allowed in my life. It has helped me more closely relate to Your sufferings on my behalf.
Thank you, Lord, for the alone times in my life. Those times have forced me to lean in closer to You.
Thank you, God, for the uncertainties I've experienced. They have deepened my trust in You.
Thank You, Lord, for the times You came through for me when I didn't even know I needed a rescue.
Thank You, Lord, for the losses I have experienced. They have been a reminder that You are my greatest gain.
Thank You, God, for the tears I have shed. They have kept my heart soft and mold-able.
Thank You, God, for the times I haven't been able to control my circumstances. They have reminded me that You are sovereign and on the throne.
Thank You, God, for those people in my life whom You have called home to be with You. Their absence from this earth keeps my heart longing for heaven.
Thank You, God, that I have an inheritance in the heavenly places...something that this world can never steal from me and I could never selfishly squander.
Thank You, God, for the greatest gift You could ever give me: forgiveness through Your perfect Son's death on the cross on my behalf.
Thank You, God, for the righteousness You credited toward me, through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It's a righteousness I could never earn or attain on my own.
Thank You, Father, that You know me, You hear me, and You see my tears. Remind me through difficult times that You are God, You are on the throne, and You are eternally good.
And thank You, Lord, not only for my eternal salvation, but for the salvation You afford every day of my life as You save me from myself, my foolishness, my own limited insights, and my frailties in light of Your power and strength.
Can you begin saying "thank You" a few more time throughout your day? You may find it lightens your load and makes you feel better, physically, as well.
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning writer who helps women find strength for the soul. She is the best-selling author of When Women Walk Alone (more than 120,000 copies sold) and a dozen other books including When a Woman Overcomes Life's Hurts, and her newest release, When God Sees Your Tears. For more resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and relationship with God and others, see her website: www.strengthforthesoul.com
Publication date: November 18, 2014
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning author of more than a dozen books. She helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and with each other. She and her husband, Hugh, have been married 32 years and co-authored the book, When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection. Cindi has also Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husband and When a Woman Inspires Her Husband, upon which this article is based. For more on her speaking, or resources to help strengthen your soul, marriage, or parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.