Reason #1: Being Grateful Makes You Happier and Healthier
Most of us have probably heard the hymn “Count Your Blessings”, however, we might not know that literally counting our blessings increases our emotional health. Researchers had one group of students write for 20 minutes each day about things they were grateful for, a second about things they were angry about, and a third about random topics like the color of their shoes. Guess which group was happiest at the end of the experiment? The ones who wrote about things they were grateful for of course! Even more interesting is that those who wrote about the things they were grateful for were less likely to be sick throughout the semester.
Reason #2: Being Grateful Helps You See More Blessings
There are many blessings that come from being grateful for the good things we enjoy. I came along a quote that said, live with a spirit of thanksgiving and you will have greater happiness and satisfaction in life.
As Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said, “The more often we see the things around us—even the beautiful and wonderful things—the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds—even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less”
Reason #3: There Are Sad Consequences of Ingratitude
When people are not grateful they tend to complain, and that isn’t good for anyone. For example, even though the Lord had delivered the Israelites from slavery and given them manna to eat, they were not grateful. Notice what happens: “And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it” (Numbers 11:1). So the Lord hears when we complain, and He does not like it.
Something amazing about being grateful is that it’s in our control. We might not be able to make the varsity team or be elected student body president. We might not get asked out on dates or have the biggest muscles (we speak from personal experience). But we can control whether we have a grateful attitude.
Great blessings are promised to those who are grateful. The Lord said, “He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more” (D&C 78:19). Let us follow the counsel of Paul who said, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
We can control whether we have a grateful attitude or not. We always say, “I’d be happy If…”
Some people have a hard time being grateful for what they have. They say, “I’d be happy if only I had [fill in the blank—a new car, an iPod, good hair, etc.].” Like the girl who says, “If I were 16, then I’d be happy.” Then she turns 16 and says, “If guys start asking me out, then I’ll be happy.” And then guys start asking her out, and when she’s older she says, “If I get a boyfriend, then I’ll be happy.” Then she gets a boyfriend and says, “If I can break up with my boyfriend, then I’ll be happy.” And so it goes. If we say, “I’ll be happy if . . . ,” the happiness may never come. But when we are grateful, we invite happiness to come immediately.
During seasons when the attitude of gratitude eludes me completely, I take a gratitude challenge. You will not feel like doing it initially, but once you get into it, you quickly pick the speed and you will not want to stop. We always talk about counting our blessings—let’s do it! Write a list of 100 things you are thankful for. Some might think that is too many. If that is the case, try this:
- Write 10 living people you are grateful for.
- Write 10 people who have died you are grateful for.
- Write 10 physical abilities you are grateful for.
- Write 10 material possessions you are grateful for.
- Write 10 things about nature you are grateful for.
- Write 10 things about today you are grateful for.
- Write 10 places on earth you are grateful for.
- Write 10 modern-day inventions you are grateful for.
- Write 10 foods you are grateful for.
- Write 10 things about the gospel you are grateful for.
When we make a list like this, we discover that a list of 100 doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the things God has given us.