Friday, February 9, 2024

Antidote: Gratitude

By: Lauren Thomas 

Neuroscience heralds the benefits of gratitude on our mental health. Gratitude literally has the power to rewire our brains toward positivity. Anxiety and gratitude cannot simultaneously exist in our brains. Gratitude affects our mental health and even impacts physical health and relationships. Gratitude is a powerful thing!


Those of us who are familiar with Scripture aren’t surprised. 


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.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV


When these words were penned by Paul, God already knew how gratitude impacts us. Paul told us simply to not be anxious! But he also directed us – under the influence of the Holy Spirit – to an antidote for anxiety. Bring your requests to God “with thanksgiving.” The result? God’s peace comforts our hearts and minds. 


An antidote for anxiety is gratitude. 


But did you know, gratitude is also an antidote for another pervasive problem: complaining. 


Do all things without grumbling or disputing,

Philippians 2:14 ESV


Do everything without complaining and arguing,

Philippians 2:14 NLT


Complaining increases stress, anxiety, and can impact not only the brain, but the body and relationships. We often think that complaining will help us feel better, but the relief is only temporary. Instead, complaining causes us to feel worse, and doesn’t ultimately lead to the kind of change we hope to achieve through our grumbling. 


The antidote? Gratitude! 


Sometimes in medicine, one treatment can be used for more than one ailment. My baby has a small benign tumor that is treated with an oral medication. This treatment was discovered by accident when an individual with this type of tumor saw improvement while being treated with medication for a different condition. 


Gratitude is like a treatment that can be used to remedy multiple ailments. Gratitude is an antidote for anxiety, but it can also treat “chronic” complaining. 


In reading about the grumbling of the Israelites in the book of Exodus, I can’t help but believe that had they been quicker to thank God for deliverance, rather than complain about what they lacked, maybe things would have gone differently for them! 


True gratitude always finds its way to God and results in worship. For God is the giver of all good gifts. Here is another benefit of gratitude: it results in worship!


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17 (ESV)


So, like the accidental discovery that one medication can be used in treatment of a different condition, gratitude is a Biblically prescribed antidote for more than one problem! Gratitude rewires our brains toward positivity, reduces anxiety, reverses complaining, and results in worship!



What helps you to practice gratitude? What makes practicing gratitude difficult.  

What connections do you see between gratitude and worship?

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