Health Ministries: A Grateful Heart

Health Ministries: A Grateful Heart

As I am preparing this, fall has arrived here in northern Minnesota and it came around early October. I feel the summer heat has slowly fade away and the air gets thinner and crispier. The surrounding leaves are turning brilliant array of red, yellow, orange, green and gold. When we go for a walk my husband reminds me that our shadows grow longer. I slowly bundle up with warm boots, down jacket, and wool scarf, and sip of herbal tea or chai pumpkin spice lattes to warm up.

I grew up in the Far East and I never encountered Thanksgiving until I came to live in America. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite seasons to remember. Although each holiday season comes with high expectations for a cozy and festive time of year, research suggests that one aspect of the Thanksgiving season that lifts the spirits is built right into the holiday, that of being grateful. Thanksgiving is a time for families and friends to gather together and express gratitude for all that we have been given, the freedoms we enjoy, and the loved ones who enrich our lives. We recognize that all of these blessings, and life itself, come not from the hand of man but from our Almighty God.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word ‘gratia’ which means grace, graciousness, gratefulness or thankfulness. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives personally. I thank God for peace, good health, family and friends, freedom, good job …etc.  Colossians 3:15 reminds us, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts; …and be ye thankful.”

In Positive Psychology – The Neuroscience of Gratitude, we read, “When we express gratitude and receive the same, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions, and they make us feel ‘good’ they enhance our mood immediately, making us feel happy from the inside.” (Russell & Fosha, 2008)

Gratitude promotes health and it is a powerful human emotion.

The Ministry of Healing p. 251 says, “Nothing tends more to promote health of body and of soul than does a spirit of gratitude and praise. It is a positive duty to resist melancholy, discontented thoughts and feelings-as much a duty as it is to pray. If we are heaven-bound, how can we go as a band of mourners, groaning and complaining all along the way to our Father’s house? Those professed Christians who are constantly complaining and who seem to think cheerfulness and happiness a sin, have not genuine religion.”

A Harvard University study finds giving thanks can actually make you happier. Although there is no scientific way to measure happiness, many of the published reports on this topic do acknowledge a particular connection between gratitude and well-being. Thus, do not underestimate the power of being grateful!

This Thanksgiving season is a perfect time to take stock of what is really important to us. Surround yourself with people that you love and remind yourself what you are truly grateful for. Thank God for everything He has done, thank someone sincerely for something they have done.

I hope this reminder to take a moment and give thanks helps you as much as it has helped me.

Yin Schaff, Health Ministries Coordinator