What if I could promise you improved well-being, health, sleep, interpersonal relationships, and general satisfaction in life in just 2 minutes a day? Would you do it? What if you could be more content with what you had and be more generous with others? Would you dedicate 2 minutes at the end of your day toward this goal?
What is this magic cure? Gratitude. Appreciation. Thankfulness. Multiple studies have shown the benefits of leading a grateful life but I, Anne, can attest to this personally. I was going through a season of life several years ago where I was discontent with what I had, impatient, and unable to see where God was working in my life. I felt agitated and easily aggravated with people. A fog of dissatisfaction had replaced my joy. One day as I was reading, I came across a challenge to spend just two minutes each day writing down at least 5 things for which I was grateful. It seemed like such a small task, so simple, just a small investment of time. Really, what did I have to lose?
I went to one of my favorite stores, T.J. Maxx, and found a cute little journal. I wanted a tiny one because I didn’t want the stress of having to fill up a complete page. I wanted a journal with pages that would only hold 5-10 things per page to make sure this didn’t feel like an unbearable burden. Since I wake up early to read my Bible every morning, I planned to do my gratitude journaling first thing and challenged myself to stick with it for a full month every day. What were the outcomes?
By the end of the month, I felt differently about the important people in my life. My marriage had improved, my friendships had improved, and I appreciated and valued people I met. I was able to appreciate what I had and found myself wanting less. I lost the need to compare myself to others. During the day I was looking for blessings instead of looking for trouble. I expected God to be present and meeting my needs daily. My general mood and satisfaction with life increased.
Why is that? Why the dramatic change? Scientists can tell you facts about dopamine and hormones but all I know is this: we were created to be appreciative and thankful for the world around us. We are wired with a need to recognize how much we have been given so we can fully appreciate the Giver. Paul said it this way in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Appreciation is God’s will for us.
Will you take the same challenge? Between now and Christmas, will you dedicate 2 minutes a day to recording 5-10 things you’re thankful for each day? This simple practice of gratitude is God’s will for you.
If you are joining me in this appreciation challenge, give a thumbs up to this post or comment below!
Author: Anne Bosarge