3 Resources For Practicing Gratitude Year-Round

Having just enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday, I came across a number of helpful resources that still have me thinking about gratitude.
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One is from an interesting NPR story, another from a motivational speaker, and the third from an inspiring sermon. So I thought I’d share quick summaries of each so that you can keep practicing gratitude, not just during the holidays, but all year long:

Resource #1 Gratitude Journals Reduce Heart Risk

NPR offered a story last week on how gratitude may prove effective in reducing the risk of heart disease. The research focused on patients with a history of heart disease who were asked to keep a daily journal of events, people, or places for which they were thankful. The results?

“Inflammation levels were reduced, and heart rhythm improved. And when he compared their heart disease risk before and after journal writing, there was a decrease in risk after two months of writing in their journals.”

Wow!

Resource #2 The FLIP Model–Changing Frustration to Thankfulness

John Lee Dumas from EOFire.com shares an interview with Kevin Clayson, a motivational speaker for student groups who shared his favorite formula for turning anxiety into thankfulness. Kevin uses an acronym called FLIP:

F – Find the frustration
L – Look for the awesome
I – Initiate gratitude
P – Power up with “gratifuel!”

Here’s a scenario Kevin shares: He’s at a drive-through window and order a diet-Coke. When it’s handed through the window, it spills on his lap. Bummer. After, letting the moment soak in (literally and figuratively), he acknowledges the frustration at having to drive home and change clothes.

But then he looks for what to be thankful for. In his case, Kevin explained, “What an incredible opportunity it is to live in a place with so much abundance that you can drive a car and order food through windows!” In the greater scheme of human history, these conveniences are pretty amazing.

At this point, Kevin initiates gratitude. He chooses to remember what he has to be thankful about instead of seething in his frustration. And finally, he flips the switch of gratitude and allows himself to refuel his emotional batteries with a positive attitude.

It may seem hokey to use an acronym as a way to trigger thankfulness, but this handy tool may help you keep tough situations in perspective.

Resource #3 The Power of Faith And Peace

On a recent morning run, I was listening to a great talk about peace by Timothy Keller, a minister and author who has served the past twenty years at Redeemer in New York City.

He explains one my favorite passages in the New Testament:

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Keller says he keeps three ideas in mind to maintain gratitude: Thinking, Thanking, and Loving. He reminds us that the way we think influences what we believe. The way we respond in prayers of thanksgiving influences where we place our trust during difficulty. And where we place our deepest affections influences where we find our deepest satisfaction.

Conclusion

Whether you are journaling, flipping, thinking, thanking, or loving, these resources are good reminders–from scientist today to saints of old–that gratitude plays a major role in how well you handle challenges.

Now It’s Your Turn

What steps can you take to make your responses ones of gratitude, not just during the holidays, but year round? What are some other suggestions for staying centered on gratitude? Share with the rest of us!

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker
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