When is the last time someone took the time to appreciate something that you did or said or just affirm who you are? Did it lift your spirits? Or make your week?
When is the last time you stopped to watch a sunset or drank a cup of tea on your porch or had a leisurely dinner with a friend? How did you feel afterwards?
Sometimes in our pressure packed weeks with 24/7 access to work and the troubles of the world only a click away, life’s little joys can get crowded out. With so many emails to answer, chores to do and deadlines to meet, it can be hard to stop and even notice some of our blessings.
But did you know that when you say thank you or express appreciation that it actually changes you? When we take time for gratitude, we actually boost positive brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. This is the same process that antidepressants work on, boosting these same neurotransmitters. And when we share our gratitude or express our appreciation to and for others, we multiply these positive effects in our relationships.
You may have a day or even a season of your life when it may feel hard to find something to be grateful for. But even looking for blessings strengthens our brain to be more attentive to positives and makes it easier to be grateful in the future.
So take some time to pause and reflect. Who has encouraged you this week or made your life a little easier by their smile or their presence? What in nature stirs you or brings you peace? What brings you joy? Savor those experiences. Thank God for them. Grab your pen and journal about them or write a thank you note. Pick up the phone to chat or plan a time to say thanks in person.
Taking the time to be grateful “changes the channel” away from our pressures and problems and helps us to see God’s presence with us and His care along the way. Remembering and savoring God’s goodness and His help in our lives doesn’t take us out of our troubled world, but it does help us stay grounded as we live in it.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good. “ Ps. 34:8
Jama White, Psy.D