20 Reasons to Keep Practicing Gratitude Even After Thanksgiving

Did you know that gratitude can impact not only our thinking but our physical health? Our emotional health? Our spiritual health? But it takes practice and it takes intentionally turning our thoughts to our blessings.

30 Minute Chat about What Gratitude Does For Us

If you’re reading this post in an email, click here to watch this YouTube video. 

20 Reasons Gratitude is Good For Us

I did some research and looked at many, many studies that have been done over the years pertaining to practicing gratitude. (I talk a little bit about the type of experiment I found in the above video.)

Here are 20 of the top benefits we gain physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually when we practice gratitude.

  1. Better physical health
  2. Better relationships (when we show appreciation for others, our relationships are improved)
  3. Better emotional health
  4. More empathy, less aggression
  5. Better sleep
  6. Reduced stress
  7. Reduced depression & anxiety
  8. More optimism
  9. Reduced materialism
  10. Less self-centeredness
  11. Less chronic pain
  12. Fewer trips to the doctor
  13. Increased energy levels
  14. Reduced envy
  15. Increased productivity
  16. Our hypothalamus is activated when we feel gratitude
  17. We have increased “noticing” skills – we start to notice the good
  18. A happiness cycle is created
  19. God gives us peace as we practice gratitude (Philippians 4)
  20. God begins to open our eyes to how He sees people and to the blessings around us. We gain a new perspective.

 

Praying Scriptures of Thanksgiving

Print & pray these verses ANY time of year, not just in November. This is a FREE PDF that you can utilize at any time.

 

Stress Management During the Holidays Series

The bad news is we all have stress. The good news is there ARE healthy ways to deal with it! I pray this little series encourages you to take some intentional steps about living healthy and well this holiday season!

What Stress Does to Our Bodies

The truth is, stress takes a HUGE toll on our bodies both physically and emotionally! In this post we share the bad news first, all of the physical things that happen in our bodies as a result of stress in our lives.

9 Tips for Managing Stress

These are 9 tried and true things I have done in my own life to feel better and deal with my stress in healthy ways!

10 Verses for the Anxious Heart 

God’s Word has a lot to say about fear and worry. Let us hide His Word in our heart, meditate upon it, pray it, write it…get the most important words about anxiety planted deep within us!

10 Essential Oils for Stress  

All essential oils can help with stress and with our emotions. You see, our sense of smell goes straight to the part of our brain that deals with our emotions and memory. So smelling good, quality oils gets into our system quickly and begins working on our emotions! Our stress is manageable and our mood is lifted!

Which practical step will you try first this holiday season?? Praying for you, friends! 

10 Verses for the Anxious Heart

To be able to replace the lies of the enemy (which are coming at us nearly constantly) we must replace them with TRUTH. In order to replace a lie, first of all we need to able to acknowledge the lie. Secondly, we need to replace it with truth. In order to replace a lie with truth, we must KNOW the TRUTH.

To replace lies with truth we must be learning truth, reading it, meditating upon it, memorizing it, praying it and even speaking it aloud.

In moments and seasons of stress, we must train our minds to dwell on truth. Living a Philippians 4:8 life means meditating on what is true, noble, lovely, and right. To meditate on something, we must first know it.

You can see the first 2 parts of this series here: What Stress Does to Our Bodies and 9 Tips for Managing Stress.

10 Verses for the Anxious Heart

10 Verses for the Anxious Heart. PDF

1. 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”

2. Proverbs 12:25 “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”

3. Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

4. Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

5. Psalm 27:1 ” The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? ”

6. Isaiah 35:4 “Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come…”

7. Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”

8. 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”

9. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

10. Psalm 91

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,

no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call on me, and I will answer him;   I will be with him in trouble,

I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

More Verses for the Anxious Heart

9 Tips for Managing Stress

Yesterday we discussed everything that stress does to our bodies – both physically and emotionally.

Read Part 1. – What Stress Does to Our Bodies 

Read Part 3 – 10 Verses for the Anxious Heart

Today we are going to discuss some ways we can deal with the stress in HEALTHY ways. Now, I may not be sharing anything monumental today. However, my hope is to INSPIRE and ENCOURAGE you to take a few baby steps TODAY to ensure a HEALTHIER holiday season.

I don’t know about you, but I want to FEEL GOOD and ENERGIZED for the holidays. I don’t want to overeat, stop exercising, lose sleep, feel anxious all the time and be miserable through the next 2 months. I want to enjoy my family and our time together.

9 Tips for Managing Stress

Start with gratitude. Grateful people are happy people. We can choose to be grateful or we can keep on complaining, which leads to bitterness and discontent and chronic negativity. Start keeping a gratitude journal. Today. Right now start writing down daily things you are thankful for. Big things. Little things.

Change your mindset, change your life. You may have heard that said before, just like I have. But until I lived it I didn’t believe it. I didn’t believe I was capable of change. I felt pretty hopeless for many years. But, that hopeless feeling is a lie from the enemy. God’s Word tells us that He is MAKING US NEW. We have to choose DAILY, even moment by moment to believe the TRUTH of God’s Word and do battle with the enemy of our minds. We have to identify the lies, and then replace them with truth. That means we must be in God’s Word. Read more of my story about changing my mindset and how it has very much changed my life. 

Don’t be busy just to be busy. What can you prayerfully eliminate from your busy calendar. Busy does not equal better. Take out your planner now and circle in some “white space.” Let there be moments of peace & quiet in your holiday season.

Spend regular time with God. Go on a walk, pray, give thanks, intercede for others. There is PEACE found in communing with God. Phil. 4:4-6. Read the Word. Write the Word. Pray the Word. Meditate upon TRUTH. To begin to replace all of the lies the enemy whispers to us on a regular basis, we must be feeding our souls with truth.

Exercise no matter how busy you are. Exercise is actually a fabulous stress release. Studies show that adding in regular strength training can be even more powerful than medications.

Food is medicine. What are you putting in your body that is making you irritable and feel bloated and just sick to your stomach. EAT WELL TO FEEL WELL.

Fix your sleep. Our sleep, or lack therof, impacts so many areas of our lives. What do you need to change? For me, getting OFF sleep meds, exercising regularly, eating better and using essential oils with supplements has improved my sleep about 200%. Don’t expect to decide to work on your sleep and have it improve the next day. For me, it took weeks and maybe even a few months to get my sleep changed for the better. I had been taking sleep meds for so many years that it took quite awhile to get it all out of my system. I also use a supplement from Young Living that helps me to sleep WELL and wake up with energy! Sleep is so important!

Use essential oils. Essential oils help with our emotions and stress levels in very powerful ways because they go straight to the parts of our brains where our emotions and memories and hormones are located. If you have essential oils sitting in your house, you are sitting on a gold mine. OPEN THOSE BOTTLES and start smelling in the goodness and taking deep breaths of gratitude. If you need help getting essential oils and want to join my personal team, click here. I’m going to be sharing the top 10 best oils for dealing with stress in a post coming up soon. Read more of my journey with essential oils and how they have helped my emotional well being here. 

Find what helps you relax and MAKE IT HAPPEN. Maybe it’s time alone, maybe it’s reading or praying, maybe it’s nature, maybe it’s time with a friend over coffee. Whatever helps you feel more like yourself and more filled up and more at peace, it is up to YOU to make it happen.

What about you? What fills you up? What brings you joy? What energizes you? How do you care for your body, mind and soul in times of stress?

Tell me in the comments what ONE THING you can do TODAY to be intentional and wise about managing your stress in healthy ways! What can you do today? Go for a walk, schedule a massage, get up 30 minutes earlier to spend time with God, put your kids to bed 30 minutes earlier…

Facebook Live Chat about Managing Stress

Stress Management Series

What Stress Does to Our Bodies (part 1) 

 

Stress Management During the Holidays (Part 1)

 

Let’s face it, we aren’t going to rid our lives of the stress that abounds. We can learn to say no and clear our calendar of non-essentials. But sometimes even good things – like the holiday season -bring stress!

For the next few days we will chat about ways to support our body’s systems, boost our immunity and manage the STRESS of the holidays! We will chat about some self-care tips along with tried & true methods for handling stress. I have verses to share, practical tips and encouragement to inspire you to be intentional about dealing with the stress that comes with living in the year 2017.

The Bad News

The bad news is, stress takes a HUGE toll on our bodies both physically and emotionally!

You’re sitting in traffic, late for an important meeting, or you’re waiting on the surgeon to find you in the waiting room for an update on your loved one, you just watching the minutes tick away. Or maybe, like me, even taking 3 little toddlers and babies into walmart is enough to raise your stress levels. I have vivid memories of feeling very panicky and so anxious that I had to leave walmart about 12 years ago when I had a 3 year old, 2 year old and baby. Crying babies, toddlers pooping on the floor and dinner being burned in the oven. Stress at work. Stressful relationships.

You can read more about my journey through depression & anxiety here. 

Call it stress, call it anxiety, call it what you will, it affects our health, our emotions, our sleep, our mood…our lives.

Stress is a natural God-given physical and mental reaction to life experiences. Everyone expresses stress from time to time. Even good things cause stress. Anything from everyday responsibilities like work and family to serious life events such as a new diagnosis, divorce, job loss, or the death of a loved one can trigger stress. For immediate, short-term situations, stress can be beneficial to your health. God created our bodies to work in this way! Stress can help you cope with potentially serious situations. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond.

Yet if your stress response doesn’t stop firing, and these stress levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for survival, it can take a toll on your health. Chronic stress can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall well-being.

 Stress Affects Every System of Our Bodies

Our natural “fight or flight” response to a stressful situation is actually a God-given good thing. However, it’s when we STAY in the stressful mode that our bodies begin to have problems.  Stress becomes a problem when it becomes chronic stress.

The stressful situations cause our body to release stress hormones called adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones sort of rev up the parts of your body that need to kick in for the stress. This is good. But, when the hormones continue to be released time and time again, day after day, our bodies are impacted.

We breathe faster, our heart rate is faster, our muscles tense. When our bodies react in this way continually, we are more likely to experience heart trouble, stroke, or chronic pain. Our heart has been working too hard for too long. Our blood pressure is elevated but then doesn’t go back down as a result of the chronic stress.

Your digestive system is also impacted. Maybe your stomach is upset, maybe you can’t eat or maybe you overeat. Under stress, your liver produces extra blood sugar (glucose) to give you a boost of energy. If you’re under chronic stress, your body may not be able to keep up with this extra glucose surge. Chronic stress may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Your immune system is also weakened by chronic stress. Over time, stress hormones will weaken your immune system and reduce your body’s response to foreign invaders. People under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like the flu and the common cold, as well as other infections. Stress can also increase the time it takes you to recover from an illness or injury.

The Good News

Hang in there, friends! I know today was full of bad news. However, it’s good for us to have the empowering knowledge that stress does impact every area of our lives.

From headaches to disease, from anxiety to depression and irritability, stress impacts our health, our emotions, our relationships and our mood.

The good news is that there are things WE CAN DO to help MANAGE the stress of our lives! We can be intentional, we can be proactive and we can make wise decisions that will help us to not fall apart (physically and emotionally) under the weight of the stresses of life.

In the next few days I am going to share with you 10 Verses for the Anxious Heart, 10 Essential Oils to Help with Stress, 9 Suggestions for Stress Management and more!

In the meantime, if you want to begin to get your heart focused in the right direction, grab a blank journal and begin writing down what you’re THANKFUL FOR. The big things, the little things, write them all down. Turning our focus from our problems to our abundance plays a HUGE role in how we manage stress!

 Facebook Chat

I recently did a Facebook class on this topic, here is the video where I talk about what STRESS does to our bodies!

Stress Management Series