What if I told you that there was a pill that was scientifically proven to dramatically improve your state of being—not just a temporary high but a wholistic enhancement of your body, mind, and soul? A pill that could positively change the way you view yourself, your circumstances, and others and could make you healthier, happier, and more hopeful? Would you be interested?
What if I told you that, unlike the endless potential side effects that prescription pills have, this pill had zero negative side effects? That this pill was already on the market and that you didn’t need to go to your doctor or a shady Russian website to order it? And that this pill was absolutely free?
Now are you interested?
Unfortunately, there is no such pill. But it has been proven that a daily dose of gratitude can have a profoundly positive effect on your life. An overwhelming set of data proves that gratitude has an unlimited benefit on the human condition. In their book called The Power of Thanks, Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine studied and documented the surprising and transformational power of gratitude. In it, they state that
Gratitude magnifies the spirit and promotes well-being. In good times and bad, authentic appreciation creates perspective, literally stepping back from the distractions of the moment and affirming something more lasting than passing circumstance.[i]
They found that a regular practice of gratitude changes the way that we live our lives and do our work. Of their many discoveries, Mosley and Irvine found that grateful people:
have increased emotional well-being;
get along better with others;
are more resilient to trauma;
are physically healthier; and
are less depressed.[ii]
There’s no pill on the market that can do that! There’s no amount of positivity seminars that you can attend that can accomplish that in your life. Just one little word: “Thanks.” That’s a powerful little word! Gratitude radically reframes your attitude. It gives you a glimpse of the bigger picture. It lifts your head out of your circumstances and your heart toward something—and someone—greater. Gratitude reminds you that it’s not all about you and that it’s not all up to you. It is acknowledging unexpected or unmerited goodness directed squarely at you. Gratitude is just good for the soul.
The data are clear. The studies are conclusive. The evidence is obvious. So . . . why don’t you do it more? Why is it so hard to utter that utterly simple, monosyllabic word? How do you become a more grateful person? Not only in life but also in prayer? How do you become fluent in the language of gratitude with God? And what do you think might happen if you did?
You’ve been reading with Jarrett Stevens from his new book Praying Through: Overcoming the Obstacles that Keep Us from God. Keep reading with a free excerpt of chapter 1 here. You can also take the Seasons of the Soul quiz at jarrettstevens.com to find how what season of prayer you are in right now.
[i] Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine, The Power of Thanks: How Social Recognition Empowers Employees and Creates a Best Place to Work (New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2014), 31–32.
[ii] Mosley and Irvine, Power of Thanks, 32–33.