Here it is, post 30 of the series. I bet in the beginning you did not know where I was heading as I wrote about Susan Boyle and Bob Hope. Part way through I said to my husband, “why didn’t I do 20 posts of enCOURAGEment instead of 30?” The goal was daunting at times but I learned a lot. So how do I wrap this up? What words of encouragement do I have for you?
Encouragement can come in many forms, from all sorts of places and people. Recently someone tactfully pointed out to me, that perhaps I was missing some of the encouragers God has put in my life. I knew she was right. It is so easy to get sidetracked and feel as though we are moving through life alone and unnoticed. We have to constantly bring ourselves back to reality.
How do we remedy not noticing the encouragers God has given to us?
- Contemplation: spending quiet time thinking about the different areas in life and the people that have been or are there to encourage us along.
- Documentation: Get out your gratitude journal or start one and write out the thoughts of gratitude for each person on the list. Document how they have encouraged you, what that meant to you, and how it made you feel. This can be broken up over the course of days or week. Gratitude journals are not to be rushed through.
What do we do from there?
- I try to thank people for encouraging me, helping me or blessing me in some other way. I try to be as specific as I can.
- Sometimes I will send a note or email thanking them.
- On occasion a gift may even be in order.
Why bother being grateful? Alex Korb , Ph.D. in his Psychology Today article discusses the impact of gratitude on the brain.
- One study showed “young adults assigned to keep gratitude journals showed greater increases in determination, attention, enthusiasm and energy compared to the other groups.”
- Another study showed “even a weekly gratitude journal was beneficial. Subjects assigned to journal weekly on gratitude showed greater improvements in .”
- a third study found that “higher levels of gratitude were associated with better sleep, and with lower anxiety and depression.”
- They found that “subjects who showed more gratitude overall had higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus. This is important because the hypothalamus controls a huge array of essential bodily functions, including eating, drinking and sleeping. It also has a huge influence on your metabolism and levels.”
Gratitude should definitely be in the arsenal of tools we use to help us reclaim our lives after a diagnosis of lupus or other autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Korb says, “Gratitude requires an appreciation of the positive aspects of your situation. It is not a comparison. Sometimes noticing what other people don’t have may help you see what you can be grateful for, but you have to take that next step. You actually have to show appreciation for what you have, for it to have an effect.”
I think it is time for me to get my Grace Journal out again. This time I will be targeting the people God has placed in my life to encourage me in one way or another. What perfect timing with Thanksgiving just around the corner. Won’t you join me in the next few weeks and do the same? The benefits are powerful and will give us strength for the busy holiday.
While I will continue to write this blog, I am going to add a second one titled Wisdom from God’s Word. Click here for background information. Wisdom from God’s Word will simply be daily verses from the bible that will hopefully encourage you and help you on your journey.
I am grateful for you my reader. I am grateful for the strength and ability to have been able to write this blog for the last 3 years. I am grateful for the people who have encouraged me along the way. Thank you. Leslie Rose K
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer