Gratitude is Medicine for the Soul

Are you a cynical person? If you would have asked me this, I would have emphatically said, “NO!” Then I read a book by Jennie Allen called “Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts.” In this book Allen writes:

“Here are some questions to ask yourself to see whether cynicism has invaded your headspace:

  • Do you get annoyed when people are optimistic?
  • When someone is nice to you, do you wonder what that person wants?
  • Do you constantly feel misunderstood?
  • When things are going well, are you waiting for the bottom to fall out?
  • Do you quickly notice people’s flaws?
  • Do you worry about getting taken advantage of?
  • Are you guarded when you meet someone new?
  • Do you wonder why people just can’t get it together?
  • Are you often sarcastic?”

Wow! These questions stunned me. What about you? Can you say yes to many of these? Surprisingly, I can. But I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised because of the culture we live in. We are surrounded by negativity and complaining at every turn. And in fact, it is actually encouraged and applauded.

It is no secret that living with toxic thoughts is bad for our mental health. According to Cleveland Clinic, “Psychologists link negative thinking to depression, anxiety, chronic worry and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).”

But it might surprise some to hear that negativity is also bad for our physical health as well. According to the University of Minnesota, “Negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can create chronic stress, which upsets the body’s hormone balance, depletes the brain chemicals required for happiness, and damages the immune system.”

However, I have some good news that will fight this downward spiral. Gratitude can help turn all that around! According to the Mayo Clinic, “A daily gratitude practice has been shown to significantly increase your happiness — and your physical health. Practicing gratitude improves sleep, boosts immunity and decreases the risk of disease.”

In other words … Gratitude is medicine for the soul.

Our mental and physical well-being should prompt us to choose gratitude. We have this one body for our entire lives. And we have to live with ourselves for decades. So why not take care of yourself, for your own health’s sake, and choose gratitude?

(Side note: I realize some of you might be dealing with difficult situations or grief and cannot focus on gratitude right now. That is understandable. We all need to evaluate what works for us in different seasons. Personally, I needed to do this gratitude challenge to help my heart and soul to stay in a positive direction. And I encourage you to prayerfully seek God’s guidance and assess what things might benefit you in the current season that you are in.)

… Don’t forget we have the Luke Bible study starting on December 1st! I hope you will join in!

My heart and soul explode with joy—full of glory! Even my body will rest confident and secure. – Psalm 16:9 TPT

© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

15 Comments on “Gratitude is Medicine for the Soul

  1. Amen, Bridget. I know brooding over negative thoughts isn’t a good idea, but sometimes I do it anyway. Like you say, being grateful to God is a much better strategy. Thank you for sharing this. Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

    • To be honest, I brood over negative thoughts more often than I like as well. It’s especially difficult when we are surrounded by negativity. It is contagious. But so is positivity. So I am trying to remember to “take every thought captive.” And thankfully God will help us if we seek His help. Thank you, David! I appreciate you sharing that. You always help me to think about things a little deeper! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dwelling on negative things can be so easy and if I do not give them to God they tend to take over.
    Those questions are really thought provoking.
    I must say that being intentionally grateful helps so much. It truly helps us focus on God and not let fear of things get a hold of our thoughts and emotions.
    I really like that you mention that some may be on a difficult season and they should just prayerfully seek God to guide them during this time.
    Thank you my dear friend for so consistently and purposefully reminding us to have hearts of gratitude 🙏🏽
    Blessings my friend 🤗💙🌺

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, dwelling on the negative sure does seem easier than dwelling on the positive. It shouldn’t be, but somehow it is. Perhaps because we are surrounded by negativity. And of course the enemy also wants us to dwell on the negative. But we have a choice. I love the two points you made about (1) Giving it to God and (2) Being intentional about gratitude. Doing both of those will certainly help us to stay on the right path. Thank you for sharing your insight, dear friend. And blessings to you too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Negative thinking can consume our thoughts if we are not intentional about what we are thinking. I think it’s Joyce Meyer that says, ”think about what you are thinking about.” We do feel better when we practice gratefulness. It takes perseverance lol. Thanks Bridget. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh such a good quote and point – “Think about what you are thinking about.” I love that and will have to remember that. And I agree, it does take perseverance. We have to remember to be strong and not allow the negativity of the world to affect us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Dawn. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing! I will definitely check out the 5 day plan! And I am glad this post was encouraging too! You are right, it is important to keep our focus in a positive direction. 🤗♥️

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  4. Pingback: Gratitude is Medicine for the Soul — Bridget A. Thomas – QuietMomentsWithGod

  5. Wow… yes, I can relate to having some of those cynical attitudes. I hate it when my head goes there. This book sounds like it could be a good read for me. I so agree that an attitude of gratitude is the answer to cynicism and you are so right, there are times when being grateful is so tough. In those times we have to give ourselves the grace to heal and show others that same grace when they’re unable to reflect gratitude. Often those whose moods are grey and cynical are the ones who are hurting. Thanks for sharing Bridget. I appreciate the heads up about the book and the encouragement to combat a negative mindset with one of gratitude. Blessings my friend. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hate it when my head goes there too. And for me, being intentional about gratitude has helped. It is a way to help us “take every thought captive.” I heard a pastor talk once about how their lawn was full of weeds and they were told to plant good grass to push out the weeds. And our thoughts are similar, if we fill our minds with good things, there is less room for the bad. But it takes a lot of perseverance. And I agree, you said that well – there are definitely times when we need to extend grace to ourselves and others. The book is really great and I have read it twice. Alicia talked about it on her blog last year too. I am glad this post was encouraging! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Blessings to you too, dear friend ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s so amazing to me that whenever I’m in a bad mood if I start thinking of things I’m grateful for, my mood starts lifting by the third thing I’ve listed! And I’m so grateful to God for giving me all the things I have to be grateful for!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Such a good point. Gratitude helps us keep our perspective on the right things. There will always be good things and not-so-good things in our lives. But we can choose which we focus on. Thanks for sharing that, Michelle! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

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