I learned something in my WW meeting last week. Happier people make better decisions. It’s hard to make good decisions when you’re afraid, sad or anxious. I also learned this in my trauma-informed teaching class this summer. It’s harder to learn when you’re afraid or anxious. It’s harder to do most things, really.
The technique we learned, of course, involves gratitude. When you live a life of gratitude, it helps the brain make better decisions. I never thought of gratitude this way before. If it soothes the brain, releases dopamine, and somehow calms down our automatic, fearful responses, then we’re more likely to choose healthier things. We’re more likely to learn and think carefully about things, not just about food choices or exercise, but about any decision.
I love when research finally catches up to Biblical directives. I love how Paul instructs us in 1 Thessalonians what social scientists tell us we now need to do. Paul writes: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
To practice giving thanks in all circumstances, we need to believe in God’s goodness, power, and sovereignty. We’re where we are because there’s something good here. There’s something to experience about God right here. There’s some invitation to supernatural living here.
I love my gratitude journal. I make it as specific and ordinary as possible to set my mind right each morning. Thank you, God, for a purring cat, warm coffee, acorns, a good night’s sleep, a hot shower, a treadmill in a gym, music, great students, the sun shining through leaves, my neighbors who brought fresh eggs and purple potatoes and apple-cider caramels late last night, conversations with Ashley, football games in the autumn evening, root vegetables, dogs (all kinds), and fuzzy cardigans. . .
Try your own gratitude journal!