My family has a Thanksgiving journal that we write in every Thanksgiving season. For almost a decade, we’ve listed the things each member of our family is thankful for that year. It’s a fun way to focus on the positives in our lives and reflect on the joys of our year. As our kids have gotten older we look back and laugh at the past years and reminisce. Reflecting on gratitude benefits our family with a bonding experience.

It’s sad, but many people forget to be thankful. Our society is overly critical and negative and things are never good enough. This mentality causes us to be discontent and lose sight of all the wonderful blessings we have around us.

Gratitude is an important mindset for having a healthy life. Here are some ways gratitude benefits you:

It keeps us from being negative

Gratitude is a great antidote for a bad attitude. When we stay focused on things we’re grateful for, it starts to shift our negativity. Having a positive outlook in life can make a big difference in our overall happiness.

It combats anxiety and depression

Many people struggle with anxiety and depression, which are both highly negative. Focusing on gratitude is a way to shift the anxiety and depression as you fight the negative lies that are creeping in.

It helps us remember what matters

When you’re grateful for things in your life, it helps you stay focused on your priorities. The world we live in ALWAYS has something wrong or bad going on. It’s easy to get sucked into the negativity. The benefits of gratitude are that we can reflect on the things close to our heart that mean the most even when things are falling apart around us.

We will cherish our relationships more

When we focus on our immediate circle and the good that does exist in the midst of the world’s bad, we can be more grateful for our reality. This is true for me and my husband all the time. As I help clients with stress in their marriage or family, I’m often more appreciative for the strong marriage we have. He feels the same when he helps people in our church or the foster parent community and he sees how bad it could be. It often leads us to a conversation of gratitude for each other and the hard work we’ve put in to make our marriage work.

It helps us cope in a hard time

When we are in a valley, it’s hard to see that we came from a hill before hand. The ups and downs of life are a constant. But when we focus on the low times, it’s often hard to remember the good times. Gratitude helps us have hope that there is some good now and that the good will return again. Being thankful for even the smallest simple things can neutralize the negative of a hard time to give us a broader perspective of our reality.

As you can see the benefits of gratitude are convincing and you need to make it a discipline in your life. Let’s strive to be grateful more than one time a year!