Grateful Heart
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One Month to a Grateful Heart

Heart check: Do you have a grateful heart? While we often talk about physical heart health, it’s just as important to look at emotional and spiritual heart health. If you embody gratefulness, you are likely able to look past the everyday struggles and find peace in life’s turmoil.

But if not, you may be sinking in a pit of anxiety, jealousy, or pessimism. What’s more, you might be missing an amazing opportunity to improve physical health through gratitude.

Honestly, it’s not always easy to have a grateful heart. However, our God has promised to help us in the journey to a truly grateful heart, unshaken by life’s ups and downs. It’s not your burden to bear alone, but a beautiful walk with God.

One Month to a Grateful Heart

During November, take a cue from the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday and put gratitude into practice every day. Here are 4 ways to strengthen your own heart with daily thanksgiving throughout the month.

1. Spend time in God’s Word and in prayer.

When Jesus prayed, He praised God. At the Last Supper, just hours before His crucifixion, He thanked God. This is the example we have: Give praise and be thankful.

Of course, this can be easier said than done when life gets tough. But, the more you spend time with God, the Giver of all good things, the more you will see just how good He is. Try spending time with Him, even if just a few minutes, every single day.

From there, the gratitude in your heart can overflow into every other part of your life.

2. Acknowledge the things for which you are grateful, all day every day.

Have you heard of the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp? It is a beautiful portrayal of gratitude in a daily, ordinary life. Ann teaches that gratitude precedes God’s miracles in Scripture and throughout our own lives.

In the book, Ann tells the story of how she came to the challenge of writing down 1000 things she was thankful for. She kept a notepad and pen handy, and wrote down small and big gratitudes, throughout each day.

For her, it was life changing.

Do you think a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment focus on gratitude could change your life? What do you have to lose?

Take this challenge in November. Start small, and write just a few per day if you’d like. Keep your mind and your attitude focused on the things for which you are thankful!

3. Look Outside Yourself

When we are in the middle of turmoil or feeling defeated, it’s very easy to lose sight of our own blessings. One of the best cures? Get involved with helping others!

Taking the focus off ourselves and blessing others is a great way to develop a grateful heart. You can pray for others daily. You can bless others with a note, text, or encouraging call. You can give small gifts out of the blue – anything from flowers from your garden to a coffee gift card. Or, get involved in a bigger operation with an established charitable group.

4. Give Yourself Lots of Grace

Lastly, there’s no room for perfectionism here. Gratitude requires grace. If you slip up, feel down, miss a day of writing down your blessings, or just have a negative attitude for a day, give yourself grace.

As you do, you’ll learn to take captive the negative thoughts, forgive yourself, and move on quickly. If you’re feeling sad about yourself, it’s difficult to simultaneously feel grateful.

We serve a God who not only forgives us, but takes our worries and cares from us. Give yourself grace and continue to look for your blessings each day.

A Grateful Heart Bolsters Physical Health

Did you know a grateful heart is actually good for you, physically? It’s true. Some of the health benefits of a grateful heart include:

  • Stronger mental health: Believe it or not, you can decrease cortisol, the stress hormone, by up to 23% by practicing gratitude (1). What’s more, healthcare practitioners have sustained lower perceived stress (decrease of 28%) and depression by keeping a gratitude journal (2). Controlling cortisol is crucially important to overall health.
  • Healthier Hearts: In studies, gratitude is associated with better cholesterol levels, lowered blood pressure and decreased heart rate variability. This all works together to improve cardiovascular health and overall health (4, 5).
  • Ease with Change and Healthy Habits: Some benefits of gratitude work in reverse. Researchers have found that those who practice gratitude also tend to make healthier choices. Specifically, there’s an association between those who are reportedly grateful and less use of tobacco, more exercise, and better food choices (5, 6). On the flip side, gratitude intervention shows promise when helping patients increase healthy habits. In one study, 31% of participants quit smoking and maintained abstinence after 6 months, compared to meta-analysis averages of 23% with a nicotine patch alone (7).
  • Stronger Immune Function: Gratitude and optimism can actually improve your body’s response to inflammation. Studies have found that our bodies produce more disease-fighting cells when we are grateful and optimistic (11). In addition, anytime you reduce cortisol, you maintain a healthier balance with DHEA levels. This supports healthy immune function (8).
  • Better Sleep and Healthy Aging: One key factor to healthy aging is brain health. One necessity for brain health is sleep. Fortunately, gratitude supports better sleep (9)! In one study, gratitude was linked to a 10 percent improvement in sleep and a 19 percent decrease in depression levels in patients with insomnia (10).

Looking for More Ways to Improve Physical and Mental Health?

Did you know there’s an all-natural oil that can help with stress and anxious feelings? In addition, it supports health throughout the body! Hemp oil, specifically nano-particle oils like those in Dr. Colbert’s Nano-Science Hemp Oil, promotes health from your brain to your toes.

We are fortunate to be able to use natural plants in our lives to support our health. Another thing for which to be grateful!

Bottom Line

November is the perfect opportunity to focus on a grateful heart. Make it count! Spend time with God, truly seek out and list your blessings, help and encourage others, and give yourself grace this month! 


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