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November 4, 2014

The Habit That Could Change Your Life

Sarah Headshot Oct2013 HDRWhat if I told you that there’s a habit that you could start right now that would bring the following results:

  • You would be more content.
  • You would sleep better.
  • Your marriage would be happier.
  • Your overall health would improve.

You’re probably either thinking, “Yeah, right” or “Pass me THAT pill!”

Several years ago, I found myself spiraling downward emotionally. I had watched several close friends battle cancer, had experienced some painful family relationships, and then had a good friend die suddenly. I was overwhelmed.

A sweet friend suggested I read a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and I discovered a habit that has revolutionized the way I live. In fact, this habit provided me with a strength that carried me through my own battle with cancer earlier this year.

That habit is GRATITUDE.

In Ann’s book, she talks about her experience of being challenged by a friend to come up with 1000 things she was thankful for, or “one thousand gifts.” It proved to be a life-transforming experience for her, as she realized that every day, if we focus, if we train ourselves, we can find God’s graces everywhere. And yes, even in the midst of great pain.
Here’s what I discovered as I began my own search for gifts:

  • I’m blessed beyond imagination.
  • When I focus on the positive, my mood follows; joy grows.
  • Even in awful circumstances, I can still be grateful.
  • Practicing gratitude is like being on a constant scavenger hunt.

Gratitude is not simply a fun exercise. There is actually tremendous scientific evidence that it truly does produce the effects mentioned earlier. In his book Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Robert Emmons discovered just that. As Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Positive Psychology, Emmons found that those who practiced gratitude were up to 25 times happier, while those who kept a gratitude journal for at least three weeks had more energy and better sleep. Who doesn’t want that?

One of my favorite quotes comes from my pastor, Buddy Hoffmann. Whatever you cultivate grows. Do you want to be happier? Be grateful. Do you want to banish the entitlement mentality in your home? Teach gratitude. Do you want to feel more at peace? Look for the graces. Do you want strength to endure difficult times? Be a sleuth for the good.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some fun and practical ways to incorporate gratitude into your family life during this month of Thanksgiving. Stay tuned!

One thought on “The Habit That Could Change Your Life

  1. Pingback: Fun Ways to Cultivate Gratitude | screamfree

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