Show gratitude has so many benefits - physical, mental, and emotional - that everyone should make it a lifelong habit. According to an article in the Harvard Mental Health Letter, "Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps people experience more positive feelings, enjoy good times, be healthier, overcome difficulties, and build strong relationships."

What the Bible says about gratitude

The Bible encourages us to cultivate a spirit of gratitude. "Show yourselves thankful," wrote the apostle Paul, himself a model in this regard. For example, he "gave thanks to God constantly" when thinking of those who responded favorably to his message (Colossians 3:15; Thessalonians 2:13). 

To experience lasting happiness, giving thanks now and then is not enough; you have to have a grateful mindset. This mindset protects us from envy, resentment, and a sense of entitlement - feelings that can drive people away from us and cause us to lose our joy.

Our Creator himself sets an excellent example of gratitude - even to mere humans! Hebrews 6:10 states, "God is not unjust to forget his work and the love you have shown to his name. Yes, our Creator considers it unfair not to have gratitude.

How does gratitude improve our relationship with others?

When we express our gratitude to someone - for a gift, a kind word, or practical help - they feel appreciated and valued. Even strangers show warmth when they are sincerely thanked for a thoughtful gesture, such as holding the door.

What the Bible says

"Get used to giving, and it will be given to you," said Jesus Christ. A good measure will be poured into your lap, heaped, shaken, and overflowing" (Lk 6:38). 

Our feelings are closely related to our thoughts. David, a Bible writer, prayed to God like this, "I have meditated on all your actions; I have tirelessly and willingly taken an interest in the work of your hands" (Ps 143:5). So David was not superficial. His thankful state of mind resulted from his meditation on God's ways, a habit he maintained throughout his life (Psalm 71: 5, 17).

The Bible gives us this excellent advice: "All things that are true, worthy of love, have something worthy of praise, keep on considering these things" (Philippians 4:8). The phrase "keep on considering" once again draws our attention to our need for regular meditation, an essential habit for developing a grateful state of mind.

Always be grateful

We are surrounded by people full of pride and ingratitude, faults that can be passed on to us (Timothy 3:1, 2). In addition, we may feel compelled to fit more and more activities into our already saturated schedules. We may be overwhelmed with problems or absorbed in pursuing our own interests to the point that we run out of time to appreciate what we have or what others are doing for us.

Take the time to meditate on the good things you enjoy today. It is true that you may feel overwhelmed by problems, but consider the example of King David. Sometimes he felt overwhelmed, his heart numbed by trials. 

Yet he prayed to God, "I have meditated on all your deeds; I have tirelessly and willingly taken an interest in the work of your hands. " (Psalm 143:3-5). Despite his trials, David remained thankful and content.

Think about what others have done for you and express your gratitude to them. In this regard, Jesus is a remarkable example. When his friend Mary poured expensive oil on his head and feet, some asked, "Why was there such a waste of fragrant oil?" 

These critics believed that the oil should be sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus answered, "Leave her alone. Why do you want to cause her trouble? " And to add," She did what she could. (Mark 14:3-8; John 12:3). Instead of focusing on what Mary did not do, Jesus expressed gratitude for what she did do.

Some people only appreciate loved ones, friends, or other joys of life after they have lost them. You can avoid this sad situation by reflecting on the good things present! Why not make a mental or written list of blessings for which you are grateful?

Since "every good gift" originally comes from God, it is appropriate to give thanks in prayer (Jas 1:17). Doing this regularly can help us to always be thankful and to cultivate contentment. - Philippians 4:6, 7.