This List Can Change Your Life
Multiple studies conducted by Emmons and McCullough (2003) discovered the importance of the kind of lists we keep. Their studies divided groups of people into three groups. The first group recorded five things that they were grateful for each week, the second group reported five things that were hassles each week, and the control group reported significant events in their lives. The groups completed these reports for 10 weeks. *
“Results from this study showed that participants in the gratitude group felt better about their life on the whole, more optimistic about the upcoming week, and reported fewer physical complaints than participants in the other groups.” *
“Emmons and McCullough (2003) showed that counting your blessings seems to be a much more effective way of enhancing your quality of life than counting your burdens.” *
Wow! Gratitude is powerful. This small act of list making can positively change our lives – both physically and mentally. Other gratitude studies have confirmed these findings.
What kind of list do you keep?
Psalm 56:8 tells us that God keeps track of all of our sorrows. He collects all of our tears in a bottle. So, we don’t have to. We don’t have to count our burdens.
Instead, He encourages us over and over again to "offer a sacrifice of thanks” (Psalm 56:12), to count our blessings.
When things are going well, gratitude comes easy. However, when things aren’t going so well, if we choose to focus on grace and beauty, kindness and love, provision and protection, answered prayers, and God’s goodness, it positively impacts our lives.
When Jerusalem was desolate, the Lord told the people in Jeremiah 33:10-11: “The sounds of joy and laughter…will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the Lord. They will sing…” (NLT) “Give praise and thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good; for His mercy and kindness and steadfast love endure forever!” (AMPC)
Gratitude cultivates joy and laughter.
The simple act of making a list of blessings can change your heart, your mind, your soul, and your body.
Go and grab some paper, buy a gratitude journal or open your notes on your phone. It’s simple. It’s easy. Set a timer if need be. Begin your day and end your evening with gratitude. Give thanks to God for He is good. This list has the power to change your life.