Did you know that fear and gratitude cannot coexist? These two emotions occur in the same area of our brain. Therefore, it is one or the other, either fight or flight OR rest and digest. This means emotions affect more than just our mood. they affect our whole body.
If this is true, then:
Thinking on joyful things, basking in and counting our many blessings, and shifting our focus to what we do have rather than what we don't, would force fear to either take a back seat or even leave.
Focusing on gratitude would not only lift our mood but also improve our health.
Extending this season of gratitude into practicing it day-to-day, would improve our overall well-being.
How can we practice gratitude:
1. Acknowledge the negative emotion(s) instead of stuffing them down, and then release. Surrender them to the One who created you.
This is what I call the "I feel _(emotion) . , but I know ___(God's promise)___" technique:
"God, I feel overwhelmed, but I know if I cast my burden onto you, you will sustain me" (Psalm 55:2).
:God, I feel afraid (most emotions are rooted in fear), but I choose thankfulness because I know this is the day You have made. I will (choice) rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24),
2. Count your many blessings by creating a thankfulness list. Just when you think you've listed them all, ask God to show you more because there is.
3. Shift your Focus: One of my favorite things to do is look at pictures of my kids when they were young. It brings such joy and I can feel a release of good chemicals into my body. What brings you joy? Is it sitting outside and letting the sun soak into your skin, listening to worship music, calling an old friend, seeing children laugh and play. Find that thing past, present, or future that brings you joy and soak in it.
Let's become people who practice gratitude well after Thanksgiving and into the new year!