LCG: An attitude of gratitude; UCG: Happiness and sadness


In his latest commentary, LCG’s Roger Meyer had the following:

Commentary: An attitude of gratitude

There is a lot to be said for being grateful. In fact, it is a subject of research at universities by psychologists during the last decade. This research has concluded that those who are grateful are happier. They also earn more money, are better students, have more friends and better health, to name a few of the benefits derived from an attitude and practice of being grateful.

Is this just so much “pop” psychology, or is it for real?

Millions are anything but happy. The statistics about the number of adults who suffer from depression are also depressing! Teenagers and even pre-school children have been found to be depressed. Why are so many people so depressed and unhappy? Why are so many taking antidepressant medications? Can a simple change of attitude really lead to happiness?

Theologians and philosophers have espoused thankfulness and gratitude as positive virtues for millennia. But with the rise of the field of positive psychology, scientists have lately decided to study gratitude and to determine, scientifically, if gratitude has a positive effect on happiness and well-being. For example, Dr. Robert Emmons, psychology professor and research scientist at the University of California at Davis, embarked on a long-term and intensive research project to study the effects of a grateful attitude on happiness. He claims there are many positive outcomes to having a grateful attitude.

In his book, Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Dr. Emmons gives evidence from his research that having a lifestyle of gratitude will result in improved relationships, better grades, a higher energy level, improved vitality and better sleep. Grateful people have higher levels of satisfaction with life and lower levels of depression and stress.

Studies show that gratitude can be deliberately cultivated and exercised by such simple means as keeping a journal listing things for which you are grateful, taking time to reflect on good things and savoring even small blessings that come your way, and by simply expressing your thanks to someone for something he or she did for you.

Many are familiar with some old songs about counting your blessings. One is by Irving Berlin titled, “Count your Blessings (instead of sheep).” The song was made popular by singer Bing Crosby. Part of the lyrics were: “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep, and I fall asleep counting my blessings.”

Another song was “Count your Blessings” by Johnson Oatman, Jr., published in 1897. Part of the lyrics of this hymn went like this: “When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

Do you suppose all of these people know what they are talking about? Yes, there is a way to true happiness. Part of it does involve being thankful, as these psychological studies have shown. The Creator God does want us to be happy. And there are reasons so many are unhappy in this present society. Of course, the Bible has many things to say about thankfulness and happiness.

Interestingly, being unthankful is one of the condemnations recorded in the Bible against the people of the time of the end (2 Timothy 3:1-2).

Received the following in an email from UCG a few hours ago:

All human beings want to be happy, yet for many people it seems to be the most elusive of human conditions. A person can spend a lifetime in pursuit of happiness and never find it. Here are some points to consider (be sure to look up the scriptures provided).
1. Contentment comes from a relationship with God (Proverbs 14:14).
2. The human condition is a mixture of happiness and sadness (Proverbs 14:13).
3. Anxiety is a root of depression while serving others can lift depression (Proverbs 12:25).
4. Delayed success can cause discouragement (Proverbs 13:12).
5. Sadness breeds loneliness (Proverbs 14:10).
6. Negative emotions cause physical health problems, while positive emotions cause good health (Proverbs 17:22 & Proverbs 18:14).
7. Emotions are communicated in our expressions and posture (Proverbs 15:13).
8. Treating others’ depression or discouragement lightly will make their hurt worse (Proverbs 25:20).
Happiness and sadness are experiences in each person’s life.

The Bible itself has a lot to say about happiness.  Being grateful to one’s Creator is one way to show love toward Him.  And giving love is the intended meaning of life (Mark 12:29-34).

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Is kindness involved? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally?
What is the Gospel? True religion should be based upon the true gospel. What are some of the different gospels and where did they come from? Do you believe the true or a false gospel?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about?

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